Amherst Magazine

Richard S. Benson '43

Richard S. Benson '43 died January 22, 2011.
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RICHARD S. BENSON ’43

Richard Benson, known as Dick, died on Jan. 22, 2011. He was 88 years old.

Dick entered Amherst in the Class of 1943, where he majored in economics and was a member of Phi Delt. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and received training in navigation and electronics. He served as a lieutenant in the Pacific Theater until 1946, participating in the landings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa as well as the retaking of the Philippine Islands and the liberation of Shanghai, China, and Korea.

After the war, Dick returned to New Jersey where he raised his seven children. He followed the family tradition in the textile industry, eventually buying Halpern Cottons, a textile converting firm.

Throughout his life, Dick was particularly dedicated to civic activities and church leadership roles, serving as board member of the Essex County Draft Board during the Vietnam War and lay member on the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee for Attorney Fee Arbitration. Dick was also Protestant co-chairman of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and moderator of the Atlantic Conference United Church of Christ. At the time of his death, he was a member of the board of Stanley Congregational Church in Chatham, N.J., where he had previously been president.

Apart from work and service, Dick enjoyed a multitude of hobbies, including fly fishing, scuba diving, tennis, woodworking and following the New York Yankees.

Another passion of Dick’s was Amherst College. He acted as an associate class agent for many years and supported the decision in favor of coeducation. He was extremely proud that one of his daughters, Serena I. Benson ’80, graduated in the first fully coeducational class.

Dick leaves behind a large family that will miss his stories, songs and loving support.

—Serena I. Benson ’80 

 

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