Obituary: John Isaac Benator

Obituary: John Isaac Benator

John Isaac Benator passed away March 19, 2020.

John Isaac Benator, 86, passed away March 19, 2020. Johnny will be remembered as a loving son, husband, father, brother and uncle who was always eager to help his community and anyone in need.

He was born in Atlanta on July 7, 1933, to Marie and Isaac Benator, of blessed memory. He is also predeceased by his brothers Morris, Max and Asher, and sister Alice. He is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Leslie Shetzen Benator, his children Elizabeth and Andrew, and a large and loving extended Benator family.

There was nothing that Johnny loved more than to spend time with his family.

Playing backgammon with his brothers was their favorite pastime. His and Leslie’s support of their children’s professional and creative endeavors brought him great joy. Johnny grew up on Central Avenue on the south side of Atlanta in a tight-knit community of Sephardic Jews with whom his parents had immigrated from the Isle of Rhodes and Bodrum, Turkey. He attended Georgia State University and served in the Army before returning to Atlanta to work as a salesman for Prager Brush Company.

Johnny and Leslie married in February 1966. One month later he co-founded Tara Materials, an artist canvas manufacturing company which became his life’s work and which has remained a family business to this day, run by his nephew Michael Benator. Johnny was an active member of his community, serving as president of his beloved Congregation Or VeShalom and the Atlanta chapter of American ORT, and vice-president of American ORT. He was a lifelong supporter of the Atlanta Jewish Federation and the Georgia Israel Bonds committee, among other organizations.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Congregation Or VeShalom or the charity of your choice. Due to the current public health crisis, the family held a private graveside service March 22 at Greenwood Cemetery, officiated by Rabbi Stephen Listfield. A memorial service and shiva will be held for friends and family when circumstances allow. Arrangements by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999. An online guestbook is available at

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