Gardner H Benson

Press Release

Gardner Henry Benson, born on June 9, 1924, passed away at a hospice center in Dayton, Ohio on Thursday, December 14, 2017 after several months of declining health. He was 93 years old. Gardner was born and raised in Concord, MA and served as a non-combatant in the US Army during WWll, the source of many interesting stories told again and again over his lifetime. After attending Virginia Tech to study accounting, Gardner married Emma Ida Harvey of Fitchburg, MA, on June 28, 1952. They eventually settled in Acton, MA with their two sons, Paul Gardner and David Henry. Gardner had a long career in the printing industry and Emma worked in the field of nursing. In 1964 they moved their young family to New London, NH, where Gardner purchased a printing business called The Country Press and ran it until his retirement in 1980. He has been credited with starting the Kearsarge Shopper, still popular today as the number one advertiser for the region, no ad solicitation ever needed! He was known in the community as a hard-working, honest and friendly business owner who always made good on his promises. His wife, Emma, ran the infirmary at Colby Junior College and their two sons enjoyed growing up in New London, active in local sports, outdoor activities, music, theater and church youth groups. The family took a picnic lunch up to the White Mountains on many Sunday afternoons and enjoyed camping and traveling across the US together. A favorite family pastime, originating from Gardner’s own childhood, was exploring NH back roads; a coin was flipped to determine their direction at any given crossroads, and more than once, they ended up in someone’s driveway! Even in his final years of life, Gardner would enjoy this pastime with his stepdaughter, Paula, who would drive him around exploring the back roads of their county in Ohio.
Gardner was an active Christian leader, along with his wife, and served in the local church wherever he lived throughout his long life. During the 1960's he sang in a quartet called The Lamplighters, performing in many small New England churches and even recording an album. In 1980 he and Emma retired to Cape Coral, Florida and, for the next 25 years, enjoyed traveling in their RV all over the US, including a trip to Alaska. Both their sons eventually settled in NH and raised their families there. Gardner, affectionately known as “Grampy” by his four grandchildren, was a tease and a prankster, playing endless games, such as Rummikub and Canasta, and exploring historic sites and nature with his grandkids. He and Emma enjoyed summers in NH at Rumney Bible Conference, where they had an RV set up permanently for several years.

After Emma passed away in 2006, Gardner remarried at age 84 and began a whole new life with Ellen Hunn and her extended family out in New Lebanon, Ohio. They “adopted” him into their family and cared well for him in his later years. He always loved making new friends and was active in their church. He was always proud of the fact that no one could guess his age. Gardner's legacy can be seen in the love and strong Christian faith of the next three generations in his family. He will be missed greatly by all who called him Dad, Grampy, and friend.

Gardner was preceded in death by his parents, Leonard and Millicent Benson, sister Martha, first wife Emma, and son Paul. He is survived by wife, Ellen Hunn Benson, of New Lebanon, OH; son David and his wife Diane Benson of East Andover, NH; daughter-in-law Cynthia Benson, of Andover, NH; grandchildren Caren (David) Swanson of Pittsburgh, PA; Lindsey (Scott) Allenby of Andover, NH; Carmen (Jeremy) Palmquist, of Raymond, NH; Jonathan (Meredith) Benson of Beverly, MA; and 10 great-grandchildren. Gardner is also survived by his sister, Addie Progen, of Acton, MA, two nieces, and step-daughters Linda (Gary) Billings, of Merritt Island, FL; Lynne (Eric) Magel, of Zephryhills, FL; Denise (Charles) Alford, of West Carrollton, OH; and Paula (David) Fickel, of New Lebanon, OH; and their families.

A service will be held in New Lebanon, Ohio on Monday, December 18 at Rogers Funeral Home. Another service will be held in NH with the date and time still to be decided. Gardner will be buried next to his first wife Emma in Natick, MA.

Donations may be made to Hospice of Dayton, 324 Wilmington Pike, Dayton, Ohio 45420 (www.hospiceofdayton.org/donations/) in memory of Gardner.