Dennis Blyshak passed away peacefully on January 4, 2018. Though he had retired from Benchmark in 2012 – a company he was instrumental in helping grow into one of the largest privately-held, independent hospitality companies in the US – his spirit and presence never left Benchmark. Dennis last served the company as Chief Corporate Officer.
Burt Cabañas, founder & chairman of Benchmark said upon Mr. Blyshak’s retirement in 2012: “Dennis is one of the finest persons I’ve had the pleasure to work with over many decades within hospitality, initially with Stouffer Hotels and Resorts in the 1970s. It is difficult to imagine our company without his wise counsel and friendship. I will miss Dennis immensely.” Mr. Cabañas echoed this sentiment upon learning of his friend and former colleague’s passing.
“I’ve lost a friend and fellow guardian of our responsibilities,” said Mr. Cabañas. “Dennis joined us to build a company that would be a genuine family. We carry on with Dennis’ legacy of business and service excellence and his caring and gentle spirit remain with us.”
A native of Monessen, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, Dennis Blyshak began with Benchmark in the mid-1980s as controller of Seabrook Island Ocean Club, located in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1990, he moved to Benchmark’s Home Office in The Woodlands outside Houston, serving as corporate controller, and he quickly become Benchmark’s vice president of finance, chief financial officer and ultimately chief corporate officer.
Dennis was an immensely intelligent, honorable and humble man. He was always interested in Benchmark’s employees and business partners, and would seek to move toward the most productive and joyous relationship possible. He was a great man, a wonderful and true friend, and a superb and dedicated member of the Benchmark leadership team.
Dennis’ wife Sherry preceded him in death by 13 years, an event he never quite recovered from, as one might understand. He immersed himself in his work and grew particularly sensitive to those in need of support around him. Dennis was just a phone call away if you had a question related to finance or more. His financial acumen made him essential to Benchmark in relationships with developers and hotel owners, though he was always one to reach out to anyone who needed him and the Benchmark organization.
It has been said that “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” This can be said about Dennis Blyshak. Though he was essential in the building of countless hotels and resorts, and growing Benchmark into its leading position within the hospitality industry today, Dennis will be most remembered for the lives he touched, the people he influenced, and the strength of character that he exhibited throughout his tenure at Benchmark and after.
Memorial donations for Dennis Blyshak may be made to: MD Anderson Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4486, Houston, TX 77210-4486, In memory of R. Dennis Blyshak.