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C. Charles "Chuck" Benson

Chuck Benson of Lansing passed away unexpectedly at home on the morning of December 2nd due to complications from his lifelong battle with a spinal tumor.  Chuck was a Lansing native and graduated high school in 1965.  He completed a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at Cornell University in 1969 and married the prettiest coed in Alpha Phi, Andra Weidenhamer, after a less than impressive first date.  The two of them spent the next two years in the mountains of Colombia with the Peace Corps teaching animal husbandry and nutrition.

Chuck and Andra returned home to take over Bensvue Farms, which was started by Chuck’s parents Clarence and Mary (Munson) Benson. The milk price was often low, but Chuck’s spirit was always high.  One day Andra was telling the children that the most important part of a relationship was communication.   She asked Chuck, who wasn’t listening, what the most important part of a relationship was, to which he answered, “always saying ‘yes dear.’”  Andra declared that no, the most important part of a relationship was communication.  To which Chuck replied, “Yes Dear.”

Their marriage of 50 years was blessed with many children and grandchildren.  They opened their home to scores of foreign exchange students, fresh air fund kids, and foster children.  Chuck’s devotion to his family was evident by the way he worked to support them.  His career in dairy farming kept him active in local agricultural clubs and societies.  Before his retirement he converted the family farm to organic production, a testament to his love of the land.  Chuck also helped design and build their super green retirement home on the farm that overlooks Cayuga lake. 

Chuck was a deeply kind man who expressed his loving nature through work, service, and song.   He was blessed with a beautiful singing voice and musical talent. He shared it with his family, a barbershop quartet, the church choir at All Saints, and with local nursing homes and senior’s organizations with his family singing group “The Generation Gap” which he eventually renamed “Unrehearsed” due to their lack of practice.  His family is confident that today he is singing with the angels for St. Peter, hopefully with more preparation. 

Chuck is predeceased by his parents and is survived by his wife, siblings, children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  There will be a private green burial.  There are no scheduled calling hours.  A Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 14th, 2019, at All Saints Catholic Church, 347 Ridge Road, Lansing, NY, luncheon to follow.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Chuck's memory may be directed to All Saints with the choir, Days for Girls, or Sewing Saints Chapter designated in the memo line.


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Guestbook

Dear Andra and family, I am so deeply saddened to hear of dear Chuck's passing. That almost our entire class of Phisenjoyed your hospitality FIFTY YEARS after graduation is indicative of how much we all love you both. It is truly a great loss of a great man who, despite his burden, accomplished so muchwith incredible grace and enviable dignity.
May God bless you all.

Linda Kalaydjian Dec 14 2019 12:00 AM

Andra,

I had the pleasure of meeting Chuck through the Ithakords Barbershop chapter and enjoyed singing with him. His quick smile and wit were always evident and he made everyone's day a bit brighter. My thoughts go out to you and your family- thanks for letting us share his life !

Dave Lawrence Dec 12 2019 12:00 AM

My blessings go to Andra and the family, Chuck was one of the kindest man
the Edric M. Ellis family ever knew, We grew up with the Benson family over the years, and enjoyed every moment. My heart goes out to all of you, and just remember to enjoy every precious moment of your lives. Sincerely, Linda Ellis and family.

Linda Ellis Dec 11 2019 12:00 AM

Andrea and family, I am so sorry for your loss. Chuck was a wonderful man and I fondly remember him from my years in the pew at All Saints. He will be truly missed. Elizabeth "Betsy" Lippert Kane

Elizabeth "Betsy" Lippert Kane Dec 11 2019 12:00 AM

I was so saddened to find Chuck's obituary in the paper. I worked pretty closely with Chuck for a bunch of years Cornell's Small Farms Program. He was always one of my very favorite people. So gentle, so humble, so patient, so very, very kind. He taught me a lot about paying attention to the important things in life - people. Andra - I had the pleasure of meeting you and some of your children and grandchildren once during a tour of your farm. I'm so sorry for your loss. But I know Chuck leaves behind a powerful legacy of love, compassion and service that will continue to ripple around the world for generations to come.

Joanna Green Dec 10 2019 12:00 AM

My husband Ray and I knew Chuck since college although we only saw him at class reunions every few years. These pictures are from last June when Chuck and Andra graciously welcomed to their home all of the Alpha Phis who were at our 50th reunion.
Even in college when most of us were concerned with much more superficial things, Chuck was a man who truly lived his values and put others first.
Our love, prayers, and deepest sympathy to Andra, their children and grandchildren, and all the children whose lives Chuck and Andra touched over the last 50 years.

Robin Atwood Fidler Dec 9 2019 12:00 AM

Such fond memories of Chuck as an "honorary" member of the Class of '69 at Alpha Phi and part of all our celebrations while at Cornell and at every Reunion since graduation. Such a wonderful man....with a ready smile and chuckle and great sense of humor. I loved that he had converted the farm to organics and had installed a solar array and built such a sustainable home! I send all my thoughts and condolences to Andra and the rest of the family and all his friends. He will be missed!

Maria Bartlett Dec 9 2019 12:00 AM

Many find memories of Chuck and his family. Bill worked for his Dad for about 11years. Sorry for your loss Andes and family.

Bill and Ellen Carlisle Dec 6 2019 12:00 AM

Friends and Family uploaded 10 to the gallery.

Friends and Family Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM