Katherine Morgan Benson
February 18, 1937 – May 4, 2021
Katherine Morgan Benson, 84, a longtime resident of St. Simons Island, went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.
She was born on Feb. 18, 1937, in Fort Pierce, Fla., daughter of George Oliver Cox and Katherine Morris Cox. She was raised in Vero Beach, Fla., and graduated from Vero Beach High School, and then attended Mississippi Southern College. She then went to work in Washington, D.C., in Foreign Service at the State Department. Due to the Berlin Crisis, her assignment to Bonn, Germany, was cancelled. In the meantime, she began dating James Albin “Jim” Benson. When she received her new assignment to Switzerland, he proposed she stay and marry him! Jim and Kay wed in 1962 and were happily married for 46 years. Prior to coming to St. Simons Island, they lived in Pitman, N.J. and Louisiana, Mo.
Kay was an active member of St. Simons Presbyterian Church, where she joyfully served in many roles. She journeyed to Malawi, Africa, in 2002 with her cherished church mission team. In 2008, she made her way back to Malawi on her own as she longed to go back and rock the babies at the orphanage.
After arriving on St. Simons, she took classes in marine biology and history of the Golden Isles. This lead to her guiding local educational beach walks and history tours, and eventually an invitation to becoming a partner at Golden Isles Touring Co.
Kay remained close to high school friends from Vero throughout her life. Swing and Sway with Ann & Kay was a daily radio show she and her good friend hosted. She began her love of travel with her high school class trip to Havana, Cuba. In the summer of 1958, she set sail for Europe on a student ship.
Her travels continued as she and Jim saw the world together and often with their son, Randy, reaching six continents by air and sea. Amidst all her travels and making friends around the world, her favorite place of all was to be with her children and grandchildren.
Kay is survived by her two daughters, Katie Benson Dudt (Jan Frederic) of Grove City, Pa., and Laura Benson Keil (Tim) of Pleasant Hill, Calif.; son, James Randolph Benson (Gabriel) of Atlanta, Ga.; five grandchildren, Jacob Dudt (Hannah) of Canonsburg, Pa., Katherine Dudt of Annandale, Va., and Philip Dudt, Caroline Dudt and Jansen Dudt, all of Grove City; two step-grandchildren, Katie Keil of Lafayette, Calif., and Aimee (Joe) Hauptman of San Ramon, Calif.; three great-grandchildren, Molly and Maggie Hauptman, and Adelaide Dudt; sisters-in-law, Mrs. Joe Wilford of Lower Gwynedd, Pa., and Mrs. Robert Benson of Hollywood, Calif.; brothers-in-law, David Benson (Nancy) of Sandia Park, N.M., and Allen Benson (Melody) of St. Augustine, Fla.; and 17 nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her husband, Jim Benson; her sister, George Ann Featherston and her husband, C.D.; her brother, Calvin Cox; a sister-in-law, Helen Baille, and her husband, Michel; brothers-in-law, Joe Wilford and Robert Benson; and a niece, Callie Musil.
A private graveside service will be held for the family on Saturday, May 8 in the Christ Church Cemetery on St. Simons Island.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 8 on the lawn of St. Simons Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Alan Dyer and the Rev. Kate Buckley officiating. A reception will be held following the service.
Honorary pallbearers will be Jake Dudt, Philip Dudt, Jansen Dudt, Roy MacGregor, Dillard Featherston, Allen Benson, David Summers and Pate Summers.
Memorial gifts may be made to Malawi Lilongwe Crisis Nursery Account, Ministry of Hope, P.O. Box 1462, Black Mountain, NC 28711, or The Snows Mill Guesthouse Missionary Care Ministry, 1791 Snows Mill Road, Bogart, GA 30622, a ministry co-founded by Kay’s daughter, Laura.
- George Oliver Cox, Father (deceased)
- Katherine Morris Cox, Mother (deceased)
- James Albin Benson, Husband (deceased)
- George Ann Featherson (C.D.), Sister & Brother in Law (deceased)
- Calvin Cox, Brother (deceased)
- Helen Baille (Michel), Sister in Law and husband (deceased)
- Joe Wilford, Brother In Law (deceased)
- Robert Benson, Brother In Law (deceased)
- Callie Musil, Niece (deceased)
- Katie Benson Dudt (Jan Frederic), Daughter
- Laura Benson Keil (Tim), Daughter
- James Randolph Benson (Gabriel), Son
- Jacob Dudt (Hannah), Grandchild
- Katherine Dudt, Grandchild
- Philip Dudt, Grandchild
- Caroline Dudt, Grandchild
- Jansen Dudt, Grandchild
- Katie Keil, Step Grandchild
- Aimee (Joe) Hauptman, Step Grandchild
- Molly Hauptman, Great - Grandchild
- Maggie Hauptman, Great - Grandchild
- Adelaide Dudt, Great - Grandchild
- Mrs. Joe Williford, Sister in law
- Mrs. Robert Benson, Sister in law
- David Benson (Nancy), Brother & Sister in Law
- Allen Benson (Melody), Brother & Sister in Law
- Mrs. Benson is also cherished by seventeen nieces and nephews.
Saturday, May 8, 2021
Katherine Morgan Benson
May 12, 2021
Kay was one of a kind in all good things of life..she was fun, kind, intelligent,hospitable, generous, loving, Godly, great cook and friend. We shared many wonderful memories in Gourmet club with her and Jim, plus through our children...There was never a dull moment with Kay...she lived it to the fullest...we, my husband Stan and I will miss her, but know she must be making others happy in heaven. God bless the family...you children were blessed and you were a blessing to her...❤️🙏🏽
May 10, 2021
I remember Kay at services at St. Simons Presbyterian Church. Like another shared, she had such sparkling eyes and her son Randy looked just like her as he was growing up. How lovely to see a life so well-lived where God and family are at the heart of so many dreams made true. May the family be comforted by all the everlasting memories that fill hearts with warmth and light.
May 7, 2021
Kay was a gift to everyone who knew her. Her sparkling eyes and charismatic personality along with her infectious laugh will surely be missed. Kay embodied the perfect balance of a fun-loving, free-spirited friend and a strong, Spirit-led believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Rarely does one have the good fortune to meet such a genuinely loving and kind individual. I’m sure that my mother, Bebe, was one of the “great cloud of witnesses” welcoming Kay into heaven.❤️
May 4, 2021
Kay Benson was my dear neighbor. She brought such joy to her friends and family. With love and deep affection for a great lady. Tara Lucas
May 4, 2021
I think of the many kindnesses Kay showed my mother Ruby Vance. She was a stellar friend, full of kindness and goodness.