Richard H. Benson
Naples - Richard H. "Dick" Benson, 83, passed away peacefully in Naples, Florida, on September 1, 2021, of complications from Parkinson's Disease. He was born April 24, 1938, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the son of Harold M. and Dorothy M. (Cox) Benson.
He married Susan Eda "Sue" Reed August 14, 1965, at First Presbyterian Church of Flint, Michigan. Their first date was on Sue's 18th birthday while students at the University of Michigan. They recently celebrated 56 years of marriage, and together, they have one adored daughter, Kristi Sue, who joined them on their many adventures from the Midwest to the Mediterranean.
As a young boy, he moved to Flint, Michigan. He quickly became an accomplished musician, and performed as a bassoonist with local symphonies while attending Flint Central High School. A multi-talented woodwind player, he led a five-piece dance band that played at local venues, including his future wife's ninth grade dance. He attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he majored in music his first two years, under the guidance of his advisor William D. Revelli, and graduated in business administration with a B.B.A. in 1960 and an M.B.A. in 1961. At the University, he was a proud member of the Michigan Marching Band and Symphony Band and joined Theta Delta Chi social fraternity, Beta Alpha Psi accounting honorary, and Kappa Kappa Psi music honorary. He remained a dedicated Michigan fan throughout his life.
Dick joined the Detroit office of Arthur Andersen & Co. in 1961. He became a partner in 1972 and moved from Troy, Michigan, to Lake Forest, Illinois, to work at the Chicago World Headquarters as the assistant to the Vice Chairman - International. His career then took the family to Athens, Greece; Toledo, Ohio; Barcelona, Spain; and White Bear Lake (St. Paul), Minnesota, where he ran the offices as managing partner, with temporary assignments in Los Angeles, Brussels, Geneva, and Jakarta, through the years. While living in Barcelona, Dick and Sue purchased a condominium near friends on the Costa Brava in Spain and continued visits during the summers after returning to the United States. Following retirement in 1994, they moved to Naples, Florida, and, in total, spent thirty-five summers soaking up the views of the Mediterranean in Llafranc, Spain, until the pandemic prevented them from traveling.
Always a thoughtful leader and contributing community member, he served on various musical, civic, and professional boards including the Birmingham Board of Education (treasurer), the International Institute of Detroit (treasurer), New York based AESEC U.S. (vice-president), the Lake Forest Symphony (board member), the Toledo Symphony (president), the Kidney Foundation of Northwestern Ohio (treasurer), the Ohio Chamber of Commerce (trustee), the Finance Committee of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (vice chair and chairman), the Manitou Island Association (treasurer), and the White Bear Yacht Club (director). Following his retirement, he continued involvement in the Friends of the Library of Collier County (treasurer and president), the U-M Alumni Club of Southwest Florida (treasurer), the Naples Botanical Garden (treasurer), the Classic Chamber Concerts, Inc. (treasurer), the Royal Poinciana Golf Club (treasurer), and the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston (treasurer).
After finding a Civil War diary in his grandparents' attic in Michigan, Dick developed an enduring interest in genealogy. He transcribed the diary and then published it as the first of his many well-respected books and articles on family history. His research extended to his wife and son-in-law's families providing interesting family stories dating back to the 16th century.
In addition to travel for work, pleasure, and genealogy, Dick savored fine wine. He was inducted as a member of La Confrérie des Chevalier du Tastevin, a convivial organization to celebrate French Burgundy wines. He also enjoyed exploring varieties of Spanish wine.
His passion for music persisted, and throughout his career, he performed in various community ensembles, including the Grosse Point Symphony, the Lake Forest Symphony, the Perrysburg Symphony, the Naples Community Orchestra (formerly Naples Orchestra and Chorus), and the Gulf Coast Symphony. An annual highlight was returning at Homecoming to march with the University of Michigan Alumni Band. Dick encouraged a love of music and creativity with his grandsons and was immensely proud to follow not only their academic successes, but also their musical and artistic pursuits.
He is survived by the love of his life, his wife, Sue, of Naples; his daughter and her family who meant the world to him: Kristi and Joe Foster, of Naples, and grandsons, Ben Foster of San Diego, and Reed Foster of Los Angeles. He will be greatly missed by his in-laws, Kris and Jack Maedel, of Knoxville; his nephew, John (Brooke) Maedel; and great-nephew, Mitchell Maedel, of Chattanooga; several cousins; and many cherished friends around the world.
A private family service will be planned for a later date.
The family suggests that memorial contributions may be made to the University of Michigan Marching Band (https://leadersandbest.umich.edu/find/#!/ath/bands), the New England Genealogical Historical Society (https://www.americanancestors.org/give), or the Naples Botanical Garden (https://www.naplesgarden.org/support/donate/other-ways-to-give/).
Posted online on September 10, 2021