Captain Jerome E. 'Jerry' Benson, USNR-Retired, 77, passed away peacefully at home after a long illness. He was born and graduated from high school in Casper, Wyoming, and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1960, at which time he received the Fleet Reserve Association Sword for having the highest officer aptitude ranking of any member of his graduating class. For many years he was the Blue and Gold interviewing officer for all United States Naval Academy candidates from the Deep East Texas area. He was a member of St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church in Lufkin, Texas, where he and his family moved in 1973, and for many years he was Lufkin's longest tenured stocks and bonds broker as well as owner of East Texas Investment Services. Active in the Boy Scouts of America as Pine Forest District Explorer Scouts Chairman, he was a recipient of the BSA Silver Beaver Award, was a founding Commissioner of the Angelina Youth Soccer Association and served as Post Commander and Boys' State Coordinator of American Legion Post 113. He served as a Director of the Texas Forestry Museum Board and was the President of the St. Cyprian's School Board at the time that the plans were drawn up for the current school building. He served as a board member of the Angelina County Health Association and a Director of the Samaritan Center Board and the Angelina Chamber of Commerce, where he was the founding Chairman of Angelina Beautiful/Clean. As Finance Committee Chairman of the planning committee for the MHMR Burke Center Building, he assumed responsibility for signing the note for the original construction of that building. He served as president of the Lufkin Kiwanis Club, of which he was a member for more than ten years and as a result of heavy handed lobbying by his good friend Joe Byrd became a founding member of the Angelina Rotary Club, of which he also served as president. Friends, family and business associates remember him as a gentle and compassionate man for all seasons. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Mary Bunce Benson, and their three children including son Ted Benson of Laramie, Wyoming, and daughters and sons-in-law Mary Kathryn and Corey Billington of Lutry, Switzerland and Elizabeth and Charlie James of Anna, Texas. He was a loving and actively involved grandfather to Claire and Morgan Billington. He is also survived by half-brothers Jay Benson, Jim Benson, Bill Scott and Ray Scott and half-sisters Connie Benson and Karen Benson. He was predeceased by brothers Ken Benson and Rowland Scott and lovingly cared for by Lufkin Doctors Feld, Kittley, and Pinnameneni, and special caregivers Bonnie, Crystal, Dian, Marie, MaryDell, Peggy, Ruth, and Susan. A giving man to the very end, he donated his remains to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, where he had received treatment as a Lewy Body Dementia patient. Ashes internment will occur later in the St. Cyprian's sanctuary columbarium. In lieu of flowers, he requested that contributions in his memory be made to the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation, Class of 1960 Visiting Professor Endowment, Attn: Bill O'Connor, 291 Wood Road, Beach Hall, Annapolis, Md. 21402. A memorial service was held on Dec. 31 at 4:30 p.m. at St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church in Lufkin, followed by a reception in the church parish hall.
Published in The Lufkin Daily News from Dec. 31, 2013 to Jan. 1, 2014