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With dignity and confidence Chuck went to a very justly-earned place with our Heavenly Father on December 23, 2012 at the age of 94.
Charles "Chuck" Laverne Benn was born November 2, 1918 to Ruben and Addie Benn in Gilbert, Iowa, at the onset of the Great Depression. Hard work and equally hard times was the backdrop that would forge the work ethic, frugal lifestyle, and high moral values on which the rest of his life was built. He graduated from Gilbert High School in 1936.
Enlisting in the Army in January 1942, Chuck served under General Patton in Egypt. He worked as a clerk in the Fifteenth Air Service Group and was promoted to Staff Sergeant in February of 1943. Chuck earned multiple ribbons and awards, including a Good Conduct Medal and Bronze Stars. He was honorably discharged on September 9, 1945.
Upon returning home, Chuck worked as a photographer for 36 years at Iowa State University (ISU) Agricultural Extension Service. Loving the work so much, he returned to work with the ISU Veterinary Biomedical Communications Department for an additional 21 years after his initial "retirement". Distinctions awarded during his tenure included memberships to Epsilon Sigma Phi and Gamma Sigma Delta, and the Superior Service Award.
Early in his career he met his wife, Ruth Zimmerman, on a blind date arranged by his brother and sister-in-law. They were married at the Little Brown Church in Nashua on July 26, 1954. Making their home at 230 Hickory Drive in Ames, they had their only child, James Douglas, in September 1956. They were married for 49 years until Ruth's death in 2003.
Chuck had many joys in his life, including: His wife, son, grandsons, his daughter in-law, his church and faith, flying airplanes, riding motorcycles, (the preceding three things went well together) going on fishing trips, knowing pretty much everybody on the ISU campus, the Dewhurst family, his great neighbors on Hickory Drive, the guys that congregated at the West Ames Hy-Vee for coffee and politics, (those guys should be running Washington DC) the gang that went to country music jams and dancing on Saturday nights, big band music, Studebaker cars, volunteering at the United Way, and a long list of very special friends that are too numerous to mention here.
Chuck was preceded in death by his parents, Ruben and Addie; and his one brother, Raymond. He is succeeded by his son James (Barbara) of Johnston; and two grandsons, Nathan, of Rochester, MN and Steven, of Des Moines.
A memorial service for Chuck's life will be held at Collegiate Methodist Church in Ames at 1 p.m., on Saturday January 5th, with fellowship immediately following the service. For anybody that wishes to attend, there will be celebration of his life gathering at the Gateway Hotel from 4 to 7 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent in his name to Collegiate Methodist Church or United Way of Central Iowa. Adams Funeral Home in Ames is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences may be left at www.adamsoderstrum.com
Adams Funeral Home
502 Douglas Avenue Ames, IA 50010
Published in Des Moines Register on Dec. 27, 2012