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Theodore F. Benham


1926 - 2017 Obituary Condolences
Theodore F. Benham Obituary
December 20, 1926 - April 11, 2017 Theodore ("Ted") Floyd Benham was born in Detroit, MI to Floyd Hale Benham (d. 1953) and Elzena Posey Benham (d. 1981). Ted grew up in Warsaw, NY. After graduating from high school in June 1944, he joined the Navy and served in the Pacific aboard the USS Caliente as a Radioman 1st Class. After the war, he attended Tri-State University and graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, then went to work for Bell Aircraft Co., in Niagara Falls, NY. In 1955 he went to work for North American Aviation Co., Rocketdyne Division, in Canoga Park, CA, where he was involved in developing and testing various rocket engines, including the 1st stage "Saturn F-1" engines which were used to launch astronauts out of earth's gravity to the moon. He later became a director of quality for the space shuttle's main engine. In his career, Ted received several meritorious awards in recognition of his achievements and contributions to the aerospace industry, including an "Exceptional Public Service Medal" from NASA. Ted retired from Rocketdyne in March, 1986 and continued to live in his home in Woodland Hills, CA until December 2015 when due to declining health, he was moved to Tucson, AZ. Ted and Jean Courtney (d.1956) of Perry, NY, were married on Christmas day, 1948. Together they had three daughters: Kathryn (d. 2014), Deborah, and Julia. Ted and Joyce Harter (d. 2005) were married in June, 1962. He is survived by his daughters Deborah Benham of Mountain View, CA, and Julia Benham of Tucson, AZ, his grandsons Stephen Manzer of Norfolk, VA, and Joel Manzer of Virginia Beach, VA, 4 great-grandchildren, and his brother Benson Benham and sister Ellanora Watelet of San Diego, CA. His ashes will be buried next to Joyce in St. John, KS. Ted was a brilliant and complex man who loved life, his family and his friends. He is forever cherished by his family.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 24 to Apr. 30, 2017
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