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Kevin Thomas Benham/Pillis

September 27, 2013
Lake Placid News

Kevin Thomas Benham/Pillis, 36, went to the House that Jesus the Messiah had prepared for him in Heaven on Tuesday, September 24, 2013. He stepped into eternity while doing what he loved best - being out in the woods in tune with God's creation.

Kevin was born April 15, 1977, in Cambridge, N.Y., to his birth parents, Frederick and Claudette Pinkerton. Because of the Pinkerton's deteriorating health, Kevin was adopted by Reginald and Patricia (Pillis) Benham in 1984.

Kevin graduated high school from Lake Placid Central School, where he participated in the tennis and golf clubs. He then attended Paul Smith's College for four years, graduating with two associates degrees in Environmental Studies and Culinary Arts. He worked for several years as a chef, primarily at Nicola's Over Main, Mr. Mike's Pizza, and Mountain Lake School in Lake Placid before his physical deterioration precluded his ability to work.

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Kevin is survived by his mother, Patricia (Benham) Pillis; his step-father, Paul Pillis; his brother, Frederick Benham, of Beaumont, Texas; his sister, Shannon and her husband, Dylan and their daughters, Shane Renee and Jude Olivia Sauers of Mifflinburg, PA.

He was predeceased by his birth parents; his adoptive father, Reginald Benham; and his brothers, Shane Benham/Pillis and Michael Young, who both also struggled with Huntington's disease.

Kevin had lived in Arizona for many years, but had returned to his beloved Adirondacks in September 2012, with only one desire - to spend time hiking the high peaks. Despite his physical limitations, he was determined to spend as much time in the woods and trails as he could.

He loved his Maker and Lord, Jesus Christ, and he attended Lake Placid Baptist Church, where he had been baptized as a boy. His church family there embraced Kevin into their hearts, homes and prayers - he was deeply cared for.

Kevin will be remembered for his great sense of humor, his love of the outdoors, and his faithfulness to God. Although he has had many difficulties, especially over the past nine years, he did not complain and lived life as best he could.

We, as a family, have been praying for an appropriate place for Kevin to live and be cared for over the past two years. Jesus has answered our prayers by providing him with a room in His Father's house in Paradise.

Calling hours will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27 at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake. A celebration of his life and home-going will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 at the Lake Placid Baptist Church with Pastors Ryan Schneider, Jeff Gray and Jim Koenig officiating. Burial will follow at the Harrietstown Cemetery and a reception at the Pillis house in Gabriels.

Friends wishing to remember Kevin may make memorial contributions to the Huntington's Disease Society of America (designated for Juvenile HD) in his memory. Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guestbook at



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