Saturday, January 21, 2012

Robert F. Benson: 1935-2012

Scott gave the eulogy at his grandfather's funeral today, and I think it bears repeating:

My name is Scott Special, and for those of you that don’t know me, I am one of Benny’s 13 grandchildren.

To tell you the truth I had a hard time putting all my grandpa’s good traits into writing. No matter how hard I try, I can never do justice to what he overcame and achieved in his lifetime. I know we are all grieving today; and we should be - we have lost a great man. But I also know that wherever he is now he’s happy with his life – and he would want us to be happy too.

Benny was a father, a brother, a grandfather, an uncle, and a friend to all of us. I’m sure each and every one of you here today has something to share on how my grandfather touched your life, and he certainly touched mine.

One of the most memorable times I ever had with my grandfather was in the summer of 2005, when the two of us traveled to Europe together.  We went to Germany, and Luxemburg, and ended up in Amsterdam.  Just picture this - a college student who was drinking his weight in European beer, and his non-drinking grandfather with an E-Harmony account just wandering the streets, enjoying whatever happened to come across their path.   Pretty hilarious at the time, and even funnier now.

My grandfather was an avid traveler.  In addition to traveling Europe with me, he recently got back from a trip to Ireland with his companion, Ann, and my Aunt Diane.  He also joined my family on a Mexican getaway over Thanksgiving a few years back, where he repelled down a mountain waterfall, zip lined through the jungle, and took an insanely treacherous donkey ride up a narrow path.  He loved living life.

In addition to traveling to interesting locations, my cousins and I made many trips to visit him in his beloved Florida, and we will treasure those memories in the years to come.   I keep hearing about what a great man he was, how he was truly one-of-a-kind, and I think that’s a good way to describe him.   He was true to himself – he liked short phone conversations, shirts with two pockets, and a cold Diet Coke. 

Speaking of which, I was thinking the other day, about the amount of Diet Coke that he consumed in his lifetime.  He stopped drinking alcohol in 1980 - that’s 32 years ago. If we assume he drank at least 1 liter per day (and I do think that’s a modest assumption) then he drank 11,680 Liters.  To put that in perspective, that’s the size of a tanker truck filled to the brim with Diet Coke.

He was the kind of person that would think about other people before himself. He never liked asking for help but he was always ready to lend a helping hand to others.  Put simply – he was a good guy, and a nice man.

We may no longer get to see him but we’ll always have the special moments we shared with him. He will always have an important place in our hearts. 

Grandpa – I am so grateful that I grew up with you in my family and in my life.  I will miss you, and all of the fun we had together.  We will never forget you, and we will love you forever.  Rest in peace.

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