Benny Jay Runkle

June 19, 1953April 28, 2021

Benny Jay Runkle (“Ben”) of Sturgeon, MO passed away unexpectedly at his home on April, 28, 2021. He was born June 19, 1953 in Rushville, Il to Ralph & Doris (Winters) Runkle. The family resided in Industry, Il where Ben enjoyed “the perfect childhood”, as he always put it. He and his best life friend, his sister Donna, enjoyed adventures in their parents’ lumber yard, the creeks and woods nearby and throughout their neighborhood. Ben had a natural love & curiosity for animals and nature. He grew up raising the typical farm animals, but his father even allowed him to have a monkey, a skunk and even an alligator as a pets. Ben & Donna had the largest pet cemetery in the state of Illinois. He was also an active member of the local Boy Scout troop lead by his dad.

He graduated top of his class from Carrollton High School in 1971. He was class president, earned numerous academic achievements including the Who’s Who in American High School Students, and received the highest SAT score on record for his High School at that time. He played football & basketball & participated in other extra- curricular activities. His passion for music began during these years and he met many good friends in the bands he played with.

He attended Illinois College in Jacksonville, Il and Lewis & Clark College in Alton, Il. He eventually followed several friends to Columbia, MO and entered the “music scene”. The bands he played in were Straw Boss, Bluegrass Breakdown, Second Hand Band & Big Muddy.

Ben worked for Boone County Hospital for over 40 years, retiring in 2018. His primary role was as Production Manager of Food Services. For several years he was responsible for organizing & catering special event meals held at the hospital.

In 1982, Ben married Patricia Burwell (“Pat”) and they found paradise on 20 acres of oak trees in Northern Boone County. Ben designed and built their forever home where they created many special memories & enjoyed almost 39 years of marriage. Ben and Pat were blessed with two beautiful daughters who brought them boundless joy & happiness! Allison Renee’ and Michelle Irene carried on his passion for animals and with their dad began their own menagerie of critters. Both girls played competitive basketball and Ben was so proud of their accomplishments. The family enjoyed many basketball trips across the nation with their traveling teams. Entering their own adult lives, the girls carried with them many of the skills and values their dad held.

Allison blessed him with with the very best son in-law, Devan Paul Arends & two precious granddaughters, Lillian Michelle and London Grace. The little ones brought Ben & Pat tremendous pride & joy. He was elated when Allison & Devan built their home on “the back forty” of the family property. Ben cherished his time with family & loved watching the girls enjoy the peace & nature around them.

Ben is survived by his wife, Patricia (Burwell) Runkle; daughter, Allison Arends (Devan) and granddaughters, Lillian & London Arends, all of Sturgeon, MO; sisters, Judy (Jim) Seitz of West Point IA and Donna (Bob) Roads of Jacksonville, IL; brother, Steve (Shelley) Runkle of Peyton, CO; sister in-law, Ruth Burwell of Columbia, MO; brothers in-laws, Mike (Christi) Burwell of Hallsville, MO, Kenny (Lisa) Burwell, and Kyle (Jill) Burwell, of Harrisburg, MO. He also had 15 nieces & nephews, 26 great nieces & nephews, 1 great great niece & 1 great great nephew.

He is predeceased by his mother & father, Ralph & Doris Runkle and his beloved daughter, Michelle Irene Runkle.

A private family graveside service will be held and a public Celebration of Life will take place Saturday, May 15, 2021 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Alpine Park & Gardens, 14341 N. Proctor Rd, Columbia, MO.

If you are interested in makings a memorial gift, Ben supported many organizations that worked to make our world a little kinder and a little more peaceful. Show Me Central Habitat for Humanity, World Wildlife Fund, Doctors Without Borders, Rainbow House of Columbia & KBIA Radio are a few.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Benny Jay Runkle

have a memory or condolence to add?

John Barnes

May 4, 2021

We are all going to miss Ben. So many wonderful memories of playing on stage with him in "Big Muddy". I know there will be lots of times when you want to speak to him. Go ahead, he is listening inside of us. Such a strong good friend!

Our fondest thoughts to you.
John and Tyra

Tharen Jorgenson

April 30, 2021

We are truly sorry for your loss. We have wonderful memories traveling over the country on basketball trips with you guys! Our prayers are for the family, we want you to know we are thinking of you from Kentucky!
Tharen & Candy Jorgenson