• Woodford Sun Staff Report

Roy Benson, longtime councilman, dies

Roy Miller Benson, 86, of Versailles, a longtime member of the Versailles City Council, died Saturday October 28, 2017, of complications from a fall. Born Aug. 29, 1931, in Harrison County, he was the son of the late Sarah Francis Cole and James Henry Benson. He grew up at the Methodist Home in Versailles and was a graduate of Versailles High School, where he excelled in football and baseball. He served two years in the U.S. Army and 29 years on the Versailles City Council, and was retired from IBM. Benson arrived at the Methodist Home at age 9, following the death of his father in 1943, leaving his mother with six children to care for. "The family was torn apart," Benson said in an interview in the July 19, 1984 issue of The Sun. ". not because of a lack of love on my mother's part, but because she just couldn't make it because of hard times. I didn't want to go into the home. It took three people to get me out of the car." But, in the end, "being in the Methodist Home was one of my greatest experiences." His love of football began at the home, when he was on a team that was undefeated one year against such teams as Lafayette, Millersburg Military Academy, and Frankfort. While Benson played some basketball, his other major sport was baseball, and he was a pitcher for the high school team. He had never pitched in a major game when, against Lafayette, he struck out 17 players and hit a home run. Benson got a chance to try out with the St. Louis Cardinals and was one of the nine selected for further scrutiny. He was to return in a short time, but when he got home, his draft notice was waiting. In California, he was preparing to board a ship for Korea when he was summoned to report for the Red Cross. His mother was ill and he was being reassigned to Fort Knox. "It seems lady luck always smiled on me," he said. Three-fourths of his outfit was wiped out in Korea. After leaving the service, he married Bobbie, to whom he was married for 62 years. "I had $28 in my pocket and thought I was the richest man in the world," he said. In 1973, Benson ran unsuccessfully for mayor and, upon leaving IBM in his 21st year there, he started a roofing business, and worked for the county road department and King's Daughters Hospital in Frankfort. He was an avid woodworker and was particularly proud of his handmade duck decoys. A gathering of family and friends was held Wednesday, Nov. 1, the Clark Legacy Center, Versailles Road, Frankfort, followed by a celebration of life ceremony. Expressions of sympathy may be made to American Cancer Society or Hospice of the Bluegrass.

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