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Benny Willingham Obituary

Benny Willingham (AP Photo)
For Benny Willingham, retirement was just five weeks away.

The 61-year-old had been a coal miner for 30 years and spent the last 17 working for Massey, said his sister-in-law, Sheila Prillaman. Willingham and his wife were supposed to go on a cruise next month to the Virgin Islands.

"Benny was the type - he probably wouldn't have stayed retired long," Prillaman said. "He wasn't much of a homebody."

Benny Willingham was one of 29 miners killed April 5, 2010 by a huge explosion in an underground coal mine owned by Massey Energy Co. in West Virginia - the worst U.S. mining disaster since 1970.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press