A memorial service for Michael Earl Benson, 49, of The Dalles will be held Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at The Dalles First Christian Church 909 Court Street. Cremation rites have been held with inurnment at The Dalles Odd Fellows Cemetery.
Michael was born September 17, 1964 in The Dalles as the son of Henry Earl and Bonnie Lynne (Babcock) Benson and died July 22, 2014 in Coos Bay.
He joined the Army at 17 while still in high school. Between his Junior and Senior years he completed half of his basic training. After graduating from Wahtonka High School, he returned to complete his training. Michael loved the Army and went to Germany for two years, then to Desert Storm. He was one of the first there and one of the last to come home. He was part of the main force going into Baghdad which brought an end to the conflict. He was then stationed at Fort Bliss, TX and then sent to tour Korea. His last duty station was Fort Lewis, WA.
Michael was always community minded. In high school he was a member of the Wasco County Sheriff Department Junior Deputy. He was in 4H and loved showing off his pigs. He was a boy scout and as he grew to his adult age joined the First Christian Church and worked hard in jail ministry. Michael was a leader in the development of two Grace Homes for men coming out of jail so they had a chance to change their lives. Later he helped start the Mercy Home for women and their children. The homes are active to this day. Michael joined the Masons and later became a Shriner and as a clown visited children in hospitals and events.
He loved contact sports and was an Oregon State wrestling champion his senior year. He boxed for a while with the Salvation Army. Most of all, he loved his Lord Jesus and his two children and family. Michael loved people and did not have a mean bone in his body. In 1986, he married Jeannie Gidley and they had a daughter, Sarah. Later they divorced. In 1998, he became the father of a son, Joshua. Michael worked as a mechanic all of his life and said, “I can fix everything but a broken heart.”
He is survived by his father, Henry Benson of The Dalles; mother, Bonnie Benson and stepfather, Ralph Crawford of Coos Bay; daughter, Sarah Len Benson and husband to be, John Franklin and their children, Brock and Brayce Franklin of Pasco, WA; son, Joshua Benson of The Dalles; brothers, Stephan Benson of Salem, Samuel Benson of North Bend and Russell Benson of The Dalles; sister, Jeannie M.L. Benson of Portland; nephews, Nick, Shane, Micah and Christian; nieces, Stephanie and Courtney; uncles, Michael Babcock and Mark Davenport.
He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Earl and Ruby Benson, Margaret Davenport and James Babcock; aunts, Rena Davenport Prante and Arlene Scott.
Arrangements are under the direction of Coos Bay Chapel. 541-267-3131.
Friends and family are encouraged to sign the on-line guest book at www.coosbayareafunerals.com.
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