Robert James Benson, beloved father of Eric, Jill, Chris and Lee Benson, passed away peacefully with family at his side on June 23, 2019. He lived a full and rich life of 91 years.
Bob was born to Harvey and Nona West-Benson in Modesto, California. He attended Modesto High School and went on to complete a Bachelor of Arts in journalism at Stanford University. While at Stanford, Bob met and married fellow student, Anne Wear. They were blessed with four children.
After working as a journalist, Bob joined the family business started by his grandfather, James Stewart West. At J.S. West & Companies his career spanned 64 years. As president and chairman of the board of directors he led with a quiet intelligence and thoughtful leadership toward achieving success for the company, family, and community. Bob was the recipient of many awards recognizing his contributions to the poultry industry and Modesto community including Pacific Egg & Poultry Association’s Industry Person of the Year award and the Good Egg award.
Bob’s life was blessed with a wonderful marriage to Yvonne Conway, and long-term friendships with Bernice Doern, and Joan Bibens, sharing life’s adventures. Bob was an avid sailor, and competed on the San Francisco Bay in a Catalina 27. He was a passionate member of the Audubon Society, often out in the wilderness siting and cataloguing birds of all varieties. His love for travel took him all over the world with the Stanford Travel and Study Tours. In his later years he regularly attended classes through Modesto Institute of Continued Learning (MICL). He loved tennis, bridge, golf, music, and theatre. He was a generous supporter and avid fan of the Stanford University Cardinals football team and the Stanford Cardinal women’s basketball team.
He leaves his four children, Eric Benson (Carol) of Alamo, CA, Jill Benson (Ken Woodward) of Santa Cruz, CA, Chris Benson (Betty Jean) of Bloomingdale, GA, and Lee Benson of Brisbane, Australia. His three grandchildren are Michael Benson (fiance Maranda Mobley) of Valley Village, CA and Cohen and Karina Benson of Brisbane, Australia.
The family would like to thank Bob’s long time caregiver, Olivia Java-Gonzales, the caring staff at El Rio Memory Care Community and Optimal Hospice Care.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions in Bob’s honor be directed to Stanford Cardinal football or women’s basketball programs or Stanislaus Audubon Society. Bob has been privately laid to rest by his family. He will be missed.
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