James Richard Benson
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LAKEWOOD: James Richard Benson, age 89, longtime former resident of Marion, passed away Monday, September 24, 2012 at Ennis Court Nursing Home in Lakewood, Ohio.
He was born near LaRue, Ohio on September 11, 1923 to the late Esley M. and Anna T. (Wolf) Benson. Jim married Mary Jo (Heitker) Benson on September 3, 1956 and they were married for 37 years until her death on July 22, 1993. Jim graduated from LaRue High School in 1941. He went into the Army Air Corps and was a 2nd Lieutenant. He flew many planes, including the B-29. After 4 years in the service, he went to Ohio Northern University and completed a degree in Mechanical Engineering. While at ONU, he was active in his fraternity, Phi Kappa Theta; he stayed in touch with his fraternity brothers for life. He also played football and basketball for the ONU Polar Bears and was a lifetime member of the "N" Men, the alumni athletic association.
After graduation, Jim was hired by Marion Contracting Corporation where he learned the business from his friend and mentor, Ernest Davis. Eventually he became owner and President of the company. He retired in 1986 but then took a consulting position with Litell Communications. Jim was a previous member of the Marion Country Club, lifetime member of the Knights of Columbus, he served on the board for the Marion County Board of Mental Retardation, delivered Meals on Wheels and was a longtime member of St. Mary Church, serving on their Cemetery Board and as an usher and counter of the weekly collection. He was also chosen as "Catholic Man of the Year" by the Knights of Columbus. He was very proud of that honor.
Jim's hobbies included fixing things and anything related to sports. He loved to golf and bowl, playing with leagues until he was in his 80's. He was an avid Buckeye, Browns, and Indians fan and he followed Marion Catholic High School sports for decades. He was also an avid gardener and he enjoyed freezing and canning his produce. Jim will always be remembered for his sweet smile, big bear hugs and easy going nature.
In addition to his parents and wife; Jim was preceded in death by five siblings, brothers, Walter, Edward, John and Thomas Benson as well as a sister, Mary E. Appelfeller.
He is survived by daughters, Lucy (Mark) Lamparter of Lawrenceville, GA and Jean (Ed) Luehring of Lakewood, Ohio; son, David of New Orleans, LA; sisters, Alice Cochran of Clarksville, TN, Irene Ballinger of Rancho Mirage, CA and Barbara Cronin of Bradenton, FL.; and a brother, Frank of LaRue, OH. He is also survived by his beloved grandchildren, Michael, Amy, and Jonathan Lamparter and Andrew and Sara Luehring; as well as numerous cherished nephews and nieces.
Family will receive friends at Gunder/Hall & Folk Funeral Directors, 347 W. Center St. Marion, Ohio from 5-8 p.m on Friday, September 28, 2012. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary Church 251 N. Main St. Marion, Ohio on Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. with burial to follow in St. Mary's Cemetery. Marion County United Veterans Council will conduct Military rites at the graveside.
Memorial Donations can be made to Marion Catholic High School, 1001 Mt. Vernon Ave.
Condolences may be expressed at www.gunderhallandfolk.com
Gunder/Hall & Folk Funeral Home
347 West Center Street Marion, OH 43302
Published in the Marion Star from Sept. 27 to Sept. 28, 2012