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William P. Benton

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WILLIAM P. BENTON William P. Benton, 85, died February 19, 2009 of cancer. He is survived by his wife Blanche, his daughters Barbara Benton, Roxanne Darling and her partner Shane Robinson, Judy Dennis and her husband Mike Dennis, and Nancy Lievois and her husband Jim along with grandchildren Carlie Dennis, Annie Dennis, Christina Dennis, Jordan Lievois, and Tyler Lievois. Mr. Benton is a resident of Palm Beach, FL, and formerly of Bloomfield Hills, MI. He was born November 4, 1923 in Laurinburg, NC. William Benton was a highly experienced and well recognized worldwide automotive sales and marketing executive. Following a successful career with Ford Motor Company, which he departed as Global Vice President of Worldwide Marketing after 37 years, Mr. Benton accepted a position in 1984 as Deputy Chairman of British Car Auction Group PLC, and Chairman and Chief Executive of its two US operations, British Car Auction Group, Inc. and Sandgate Corporation Inc. In 1986 he became Vice Chairman of Wells Rich Greene/BDDP Inc. (New York) where he was responsible for overseeing the Ford Corporate advertising account and new business. He joined Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide (New York) in 1997 as Executive Director also overseeing the Ford Corporate account and global brand management until his resignation in January, 2002. His service in the U.S. Army Air Force in the European Theater of operations in World War II earned him the French Croix de Guerre and the Bronze Star. Following undergraduate studies in Business Administration at the University of North Carolina, Mr. Benton joined Ford Motor Company in 1947 as a Sales Management trainee with Ford Division's District Sales office in Charlotte, NC. Over his 37 year career with Ford, he held numerous Sales and Marketing positions. Key accomplishments include the development and execution program for Ford's highly successful Mustang car, introduced in April, 1964. He was personally responsible for the nomenclature "Lincoln Town Car", Ford's number one selling luxury car ever. While at Lincoln-Mercury Division, he was also instrumental in the development of the "designer series" concept. Mr. Benton personally delivered the original Ford-built "popemobile" to Pope John Paul II at the personal request of Henry Ford II. While at Wells Rich Greene, he oversaw the Ford Corporate advertising account and the infamous "Quality is Job 1" slogan. Mr. Benton has a long history of volunteer service for Multiple Sclerosis where he as Chairman of the International Federation of MS Societies International Development and Member Societies' Fundraising Committees. He has served as General Chairman of the Meadowbrook Music festival and Theater and the Automotive Division of the United Foundation Torch Drive. Giving very generously of his time, Mr. Benton served on the Boards of William and Mary School of Business Administration where he is currently Director Emeritus; Camp Oakland Youth Programs, Inc. (troubled youths); Independence for Life (senior citizens); Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce, and is a graduate member of the Board of Directors of the Advertising Council, Inc. He currently serves on the Boards of The Beaumont (hospital) Foundation; Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (N. Carolina); and Sonic Automotive (N. Carolina). Mr. Benton is a member of Bloomfield Hills Country Club, The Everglades Club (Palm Beach), Palm Beach Yacht Club. Bill was well-loved and admired for his optimism and generosity and will be missed by many around the world. More information can be found at www.WilliamPBenton.com. Friends may visit with the family between the hours of 5:00 to 7:00 PM on Wednesday, February 25, 2009 at QUATTLEBAUM FUNERAL HOME, 1201 South Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Henry Ford Hospital, Schepens Eye Clinic, Hospice of Palm Beach County or the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Quattlebaum Funeral & Cremation Services Family Owned and Operated (561) 832-5171 To express condolences and/or make donations Visit PalmBeachPost.com/obituaries
Published in The Palm Beach Post on Feb. 22, 2009
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