NAPERVILLE – Richard Charles Benson, 72, of Naperville, Ill., passed away from Parkinson's Disease surrounded by loved ones on April 8, 2013.|
Richard is survived by his daughters, Kristin Dominguez and Amanda Birnbaum; son, Jeffrey "J.J."; sister, Barbara Maddox; and many loving grandchildren, nieces, nephews and extended family. Richard was a loving father and grandfather, beloved entertainer and a friend to all.
Born in DeKalb to Walter and Lillian Benson, Richard was known for his quick-witted humor and passion for music; his life was spent spreading that joy to others. He hit the road with his popular band, "The Swingin' Lads," where they played opposite Wayne Newton in Las Vegas and appeared on The Ed Sullivan and Dean Martin shows before he returned to Illinois. He finished college at Northern Illinois University, where he met wife of 38 years, Karyn, and began working with his father, vice president of Wurlitzer Pianos & Organs. Richard and Karyn then moved to Bloomington to raise their family, and Richard opened a successful piano retail store, Dick Benson's Music! Music!
Richard fronted the Dick Benson Band – central Illinois' most popular dance band for more than 30 years, bringing joy to thousands and mentoring much of the best local talent. But, his most lasting musical legacy may be as the creator and founder of popular, "The Sounds Of Christmas," annual show, sponsored by State Farm.
The family offers a special thank-you to St. Patrick's Residence for their tremendously loving care and support. The family held a private memorial service there.
Memorial donations in Richard's name can be made to St. Patrick's Residence, 1400 Brookdale Road, Naperville, IL 60563.
Published in Daily Chronicle on Apr. 18, 2013