Peter T. Benson III


Peter T. Benson III passed away peacefully at his home in Seawall on April 17 surrounded by his family. Referred to by many as the Mayor of Seawall, the story of his life could fill an entire paper.

He was born in his family home in Seawall on Aug. 12, 1924, the third of six children, to parents Peter T. Benson Jr. and G. Katharine Benson. He joined the Army just before graduating Pemetic High School and served as a chief flight mechanic in Egypt in the Second World War. After graduating from Officer Candidate School as a second lieutenant, he was a tank commander until the end of the war. He also served stateside as an officer during the Korean War. He cared deeply about his country and was a true patriot his entire life.

After serving in World War II, he attended Aurora College, where he met the love of his life, Dorothy Jane Benson. They were wed in Aurora and went on to have five children together.

Pete lived the life he wanted, with his professions ranging from gasoline and diesel engine mechanic to real estate broker, high school math teacher and principal to commercial fisherman. He loved a challenge and lived fearlessly, never afraid to try anything. He cheated death countless times. Fishing 110 miles offshore in a 32-foot boat, free falling in a copper mine in Arizona, crash-landing a plane in the desert in Egypt and conquering cancer. And by the end, his heart had as many toggle switches and duct tape as the cars he fixed for his family.

Pete was preceded by the love of his life and wife of 67 years, Dorothy. During their many adventures together they moved their family 27 times. He was also preceded by his son Carey, who he was devastated to lose in 1971 to a motorcycle accident.

He is survived by his children, Eric, Susan Rand (Bill), Peter VI and Jane DeRevere (Jeff); 10 grandchildren, Stephanie, Sonja, Robyn, Joanna, Peter V, Marie, Maxine, Pamela, Elizabeth and Jillian; and 15 great-grandchildren.

Above all else, Pete was the most giving and caring person, and died with a clear conscience. He will be remembered for his wonderful sense of humor, incredible stories and his unwavering dedication to his family.

Know when to pay your respects.