OBITUARY

Captain H. Curtis Benson, MD

October 19, 1931July 5, 2019
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On July 5th, 2019 Dr. H. Curtis Benson died at Community Hospice McGraw surrounded by his family and friends in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Benson, a physician specializing in Internal Medicine and Aviation Medicine, the oldest of four siblings, was born in Rockford Illinois on October 19, 1931, to Harry and Helen Benson, both of whom predeceased him. His younger sister, Carol Sayers brother Bruce Benson (Susan Benson) of Sarasota, Fl and brother Keith Benson (Dr. Beth Benson) of St. Petersburg, FL all predeceased him. He is survived by his beloved wife Linda Benson and his four children, Michael Benson, D’Arbra Fetzer and her husband Bruce, Nicolle France and her husband Steve, Shannon Borra, step son Damon Williams and his wife Kelley, step daughter Kimberly Johnen and her husband David and 10 grandchildren: Della, Rose, Grace, Michael, Eric, Elenzie, Brooke, Brandon, Matthew and Aiden.

Dr. Benson had a lifelong interest in aviation and medicine. He earned his wings as an aviator while still in High School. His interest in aviation continued throughout his whole life during which time he accumulated thousands of hours as an aviator and a flight instructor and had an Airline Transport Pilot rating and a DC-9 type rating. He also aided in aircraft accident investigation for the FAA.

After one year in college, he joined the United States Navy in 1951 during the Korean conflict. He was honorably discharged in 1955 with the rank of a Second-Class Petty Officer as an Aviation Electronics Technician.

In 1955 Dr. Benson entered the University of Iowa as a premed student. During this two-year period he also worked as a technician and pilot on the “Operation Skyhook” project, studying cosmic radiation and what was to become the Van Allen Radiation Belt named after Dr. James Van Allen, professor and head of the Physics Department.

In 1957 he entered the University of Illinois College of Medicine, graduating with an M.D. degree in 1961.

Following a one year Internship and a three year Residency in Internal Medicine and a mini-fellowship in nephrology, (kidney disease), Dr. Benson started one of the first hemodialysis units in southwest Michigan. In those days hemodialysis units were called “artificial kidneys”. He was also appointed an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine for Michigan State College of Medicine.

In 1975 Dr. Benson moved his practice to Jacksonville, Florida. At that time he was appointed Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine for the University of Florida College of Medicine. In 1985 he entered the United States Naval Reserve with the rank of Captain where he became a Flight Surgeon and because of his experience as an aviator he was granted a waiver to fly as a Naval Aviator.

As a Captain in the Naval Reserve he was called to active duty stationed in New Orleans as a Flight Surgeon and Director of Operational Medicine and the Director of the Naval Fleet Hospital program. His next and final active duty tour was to Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida. Following his retirement from active duty Captain Benson remained on the Naval Hospital staff until 2008. After retiring from the Navy, Dr. Benson practiced medicine in private practice until his retirement in 2012.

During the half century that Dr. Benson practiced medicine he was also engaged in other ventures which included starting Air Michigan, a commuter airline, operating Bear Mountain Ski Resort, Vice president for Fabralloy, a company specializing in stainless steel fabrication, and CEO of Easy Store It Office and self storage complex. He was also Chief of Staff at Beaches Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida in 1983. Additionally he was elected President of the local Rotary chapter in 1983.

A celebration of Dr. Benson’s life will be held with a visitation at Hardage-Giddens Chapel Hills Funeral Home and Memory Gardens Cemetery on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 from 6:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m. and a military funeral on Thursday, July 11, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. Following the funeral, a reception will be held at Chapel Hills.

THANK YOU ALL FOR JOINING OUR FAMILY IN THE CELEBRATION OF LIFE FOR THIS SPECIAL MAN.

Services

  • Visitation and Gathering Wednesday, July 10, 2019
  • Celebration Of Life Thursday, July 11, 2019
  • Entombment with Navy Honors Thursday, July 11, 2019
  • Reception Thursday, July 11, 2019

Memories

Captain H. Curtis Benson, MD

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Dan Peterson

July 10, 2019

Dear Linda and entire Benson family.

Hillary and I were saddened at the news of Curt's passing. I feel blessed to have known him, flown with him and to have been able to keep close touch with both of you for all the years in our "post Navy" lives. We have always enjoyed the Christmas time Benson photo and card; when it arrived we always wonder "where did they travel this year ? "

Curt was a pleasure to travel with..we managed to both be on some of the same VR-58 Europe trips in the 4 years I was in the squadron. I can vouch for his love of flying and his skills; I was the other pilot adding a DC-9 Type rating on the day that Capt Jim Horan mentions in his comments above. Curt did a supurb job especially in light of how little DC-9 flying he could work into his medical schedule.

Our thoughts and Prayers are with you and your family.

Dan and Hillary Peterson (CDR-Ret)
Prescott, AZ

Jim Horan

July 9, 2019

Dear Miss Linda. So sad to hear of Curt's passing. He truly was one of a kind. I first met Curt when I transferred to the newly formed Naval Reserve C-9 transport squadron at NAS Jacksonville in 1977.
I assumed command of that squadron in 1982 and Captain/Dr. H. C. Benson was our squadron Flight Surgeon.
I recall Curt received the OK to fly as a pilot on our squadron C-9's.
The civilian version of the military C-9 was the Douglas DC-9.
He wanted so much to get what the FAA calls a "type rating " in the DC-9. I flew as his copilot when he successfully received that rating in Pittsburgh, PA. Curt was ecstatic to say the least.
He loved medicine but he loved aviation also.
He will be missed by many.
Captain Jim Horan, USNR (Retired)

Nancy Lee Grey

July 9, 2019

The best memories of our past boating days are with Curt and Linda ~~~~~and Sazarac. No one will ever have the fun we had and times we will never forget. Our love to all the family and our hearts are with you during this sad time.

Love, Nancy Lee & Ed Grey

Kitty and George Goodloe

July 8, 2019

Dr. Benson gave the two of us our annual aviation annual exams for a number of years. We thought very highly of him.

Donna Stanley

July 8, 2019

Cappy was always warm and kind. He chose his words like no other😉. Linda cared for him and loved him with her whole heart. He will be greatly missed!

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