Life Story: Richard C. Benner, 78; U.S. Air Force Veteran

Richard C. Benner, 78, of Somerset died unexpectedly at work on Sept. 5.

Born in Jersey City, he was the son of Eleanor (Klase) and George Benner of Dunellen, N.J.

Richard was a proud graduate of Dunellen High School and Stevens Institute School of Engineering in Hoboken, where he received both his Bachelor and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering.

His four-year enlistment in the U.S. Air Force as Lieutenant and Captain included tours of duty at Hanscom Field, Massachusetts, Vietnam and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio. He met his wife Carol (Delzeith) at Wright-Patterson at a contest for Armed Forces Day Queen.

In the 51 years of their marriage they became the parents of four daughters, about whom he fondly joked “I used to have hair.” For the first three years they lived in Middlesex, then moved to Somerset.

Early in his career he worked for Merchant’s Refrigerating Co, N.Y.C. and from there he went to Ortho Diagnostics, a Johnson & Johnson Co. in Raritan. He worked for different branches of Johnson & Johnson from the early 70’s to the present day.

Richard is survived by his wife Carol (Delzeith), four daughters Dana, of Piscataway, Amy and son-in-law Dominic Maceri of Grand Blanc, MI, Erin and son-in-law Ryan McClain and three treasured grandchildren Evan, Colin and Morgan of South Bend, IN and Autumn of Somerset.

He is also survived by his sisters, Carol Heiberg, of Greenbrook, Emmy-Lu Maloney of Middlesex and his brother Robert Benner of Wayside.

Richard valued hard work and education above all else but had a few part-time hobbies, fishing and Sudoku. His chief interest, besides his family was his work where he was well respected and beloved by his friends and a mentor to the “young folk.”

Friends may visit the family from 9-11 a.m. Sept. 10 at the Gleason Funeral Home 1360 Hamilton St. A memorial prayer service will be held at the funeral home at 11 a.m. A celebration of Richard’s life will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Richard’s name to The Leelanau Conservancy, 105 North First Street. P.O. Box 1007, Leland, Michigan 49654.

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