Vernon Benson
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Vernon A. Benson

GRANITE QUARRY - Mr. Vernon A. Benson, 89, of Granite Quarry, passed away Monday, Jan. 20, 2014, at The Laurels of Salisbury.

Born Sept. 19, 1924, in Rowan County, he was the son of the late Ruth Foster Benson and William Luther Benson. He was educated in Rowan County schools, graduated from Granite Quarry High School and attended Catawba College.

Mr. Benson was a professional baseball player, was signed to the Philadelphia Athletics in 1943, signed by the famous Connie Mack, owner and manager. His sports career was interrupted at a young age as Vernon courageously served with the U.S. Army in World War II under General Patton, receiving the EAME Service Medal with 1 Bronze Service Star. He then returned from military service to play with the St. Louis Cardinals and won a starting third base position in 1951. He also coached the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants; and served as a major league scout. He also played baseball in Cuba with Fidel Castro in the stands. Mr. Benson also managed winter league teams in Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.

He was a member of the First United Church of Christ and Granite Quarry American Legion Post 448. He was inducted into Catawba College Hall of Fame in 1978 and the North Carolina American Legion Hall of Fame in 1979. He was Minor League Manager of the Year in 1979.

In addition to his parents, his wife, Rachel Lyerly Benson, who he married Oct. 23, 1946, preceded him in death on April 6, 2008; also his brother, William Benson; son-in-law Benny Callahan; and a grandson, Cody Randall Benson.

Those left to cherish his memory are his children, Randy Benson and wife Dale of Salisbury and their children, Shanna Hinson and husband Brian, Shea Overcash and husband Micah and Sharla Drury and husband Charlie; daughter Bonnie Shaw and husband Bill of Salisbury and their children, Chandler Shaw and wife Mary Buford and Haley Wishon and husband Jarrett; daughter Robin Callahan of Concord and her children, Denver and Caylan Callahan; great-grandchildren Elinor, Elsie, Benson, Beckett, Gil, Adair and Chandler; special brother-in-law Thomas Joe Lyerly, with whom he resided; brother-in-law James E. Lyerly; and many nieces and nephews.

Arrangements: The family will receive friends from 10-11 a.m. Thursday (Jan. 23) in the First United Church of Christ Fellowship Hall with service to follow at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary with Rev. Carol Hallman officiating. Interment will follow at Rowan Memorial Park.

Memorials: In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to First United Church of Christ, 207 W. Horah St., Salisbury, NC 28144.

The family would like to thank the staff of the Laurels, Jo Eagle, Mary Dunaway, Irene Seeley and Becky Burchette for their care of Mr. Benson.

Summersett Funeral Home is serving the Benson family. Online condolences may be made at

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Published in Salisbury Post on Jan. 22, 2014.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.