William McConnell Benton

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McConnell Benton
FT. LAUDERDALE, FL - William McConnell Benton, a Richmond, VA native, and successful home builder/developer and entrepreneur, died on December 14, 2015 at his home in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He lost his battle with cancer, but passed peacefully, surrounded by family and friends. He was 90 years old.
Mr. Benton was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, on Dec. 13, 1925, and grew up in Middleburg, VA. He attended Aldie High School, Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia, and spent one year The University of Virginia Law School.
In addition to his real estate development business in Richmond, VA, he also ran the family farm in Middleburg, VA, 50 miles west of Washington, DC. where a bridge is named for his family.
Mr. Benton served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II, where he was an aerial gunner on a B-24 bomber. He later served in Japan during the occupation after the war ended. During his time in Richmond, he developed Garland Heights, a residential neighborhood in Chesterfield County and built 221 one-bedroom apartments. He also opened a bowling establishment and golf putting/drive business in Chesterfield County.
In 1972, he traveled to Rome, Italy with business friends from Richmond to financially assist a private high school, St. Stephen's High School, which is still in existence today. He moved with his family briefly to Rome, Italy and was a trustee for St. Stephens High School (1972-1978).
In 1973, he moved to Ft. Lauderdale where he split his time between Richmond and Florida. Mr. Benton continued his business career in real estate development as well as founding VeriMed, a company that produced bio feedback and muscle stimulation medical units. Ever the innovator, Mr. Benton was awarded twelve different patents ranging from payment systems to alternative energy production and propulsion. His business success allowed Mr. Benton to regular donate to charity and as such, was regularly in the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel Society pages because of his activism and involvement in the community.
Mr. Benton joined the Coral Ridge Yacht Club in 1974, and was considered a loyal member serving in a number of positions, including Governor(1999-2000); Secretary (2001-2004); Treasurer (2008-2010), and Chaplain (2011- 2012).
The Royal Knights of Chivalry in Ft. Lauderdale honored him in 2011 with the "Achievement and Longevity Award". He was the founding member of the Royal Knights in Ft. Lauderdale, and the Rotary Club of Middlesex County, VA. He actively supported The Freedoms Foundation. He was a delegate to the GOP Convention that nominated President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Alwilda "Allie" Cochran Benton, after 55 years of marriage. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth Eubank Benton, and 4 children who are Lois Benton Lindstrom married to John Napotnik, of Richmond, VA; William "Billy" Morgan Benton with Jane Gunnell, of Aiken, South Carolina; David Charles Benton of Vienna, VA, married to Judy Schwing Benton and John McConnell Benton, of Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
He had seven grandchildren, William "Will" Benton and Sarah Benton Walker, Erik and Lilli Lindstrom, David Cochran Benton, Jonathan and Rebekah Benton, as well as great-grand-child, Henry Benton Walker. His only surviving sibling is Richard Douglas Benton, who resides in Biloxi, Mississippi.
A memorial service will be held for friends and family at All Saints Episcopal Church, 333 Tarpon Drive ~ Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301 at 11:00 AM Saturday 16 January 2016 Followed by a Reception at The Coral Ridge Yacht Club. Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to Broward County Chapter of Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge -Attn: Abi Montes Po Box 4116 Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33338 Or The Mary Ball Washington Chapter Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge -Attn: Clark Waring, Po Box 294 Locust Hill, Va. 23092.
Mr. Benton requested that his Ashes be interred in a Living Memorial Oyster Reef in the Rappahannock across from his house in Topping, Va. A Memorial Service will be held in the Spring of 2016 at Christ Church Parish, 56 Christchurch Lane Saluda, VA 23149
The date and time will be announced later.
Religious Service Information
All Saints Episcopal Church
333 Tarpon Dr
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
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Published in The Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star on Dec. 18, 2015
bullet Rotary International bullet U.S. Army bullet World War II