Bennie Joe Umphenour

March 23, 1928September 19, 2010

Bennie “Joe” Umphenour Arvada

Mr. Bennie “Joe” Umpehenour, age 82 of Arvada, passed away on Sunday September 19, 2010 in the comfort of his home surrounded by his loving family.

Born on March 23, 1928 in Walnut, KS, Joe is the son of the late Benjamin and Jewell Umphenour. He was a 1947 graduate of South High School in Denver, CO. A veteran of the United States Army, Joe was drafted in 1950 during the Korean War and served in the 199th Combat Engineers until he was honorably discharged in 1952. On March 20, 1965, he married the former Beverly Johansen with whom he shared 45 wonderful years.

Cars were Joe’s passion throughout his life. As a young man growing up in South Denver, he became involved with automobiles, namely Chevrolets. In December 1952, he received a Wayne 12 Port conversion for an inline 6-cylinder engine that would set the course for him for many years. That same year, Joe co-founded the Chevruns of Denver Car Club. In 1961, Joe became involved in drag racing with an inline GMC 6-cylinder powered Chevy Coupe that he campaigned at the local tracks. He soon moved up to the dragster class and was involved with inline six dragsters with partner Mike Franckey, In 1967 they tied a national record. This undertaking was short lived with the untimely passing of his partner Franckey in 1968, which brought Joe’s drag racing career to an end. In 1965, Joe purchased a 1956 Chevy Nomad Wagon that would change his life. In 1968, he was involved with forming the Mile High Nomad Club as a charter member and remained an active member with his original ’56 until his passing. In 1970, Joe helped organize the National Nomad Club and was president from 1972 to 1988, working diligently to organize annual conventions and activities throughout the country. During this tenure, he co-authored two automotive books and two videos. Inliners International was formed in 1981, and Joe wrote a column for their bimonthly publication and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2000. In 1993, the “Joe’s Racing Reunion” was formed to host events for racers from every category, and this reunion continues today. Joe is also an honorary Lifetime Member of the Flatheaders of Denver. On March 19, 2008, Joe was inducted into the Colorado Motor Sports Hall of Fame, one of his proudest accomplishments.

Joe is survived by his loving wife Beverly; his special daughter Robin, his sisters Betty Stedman and Shirley Schakel, many nieces, nephews, and too many close friends to mention. He was predeceased by his sister, Martha Bennett.

A private committal service will be held at Crown Hill Cemetery officiated by the Rev. Dr. Dena Williams on Thursday, September 23, 2010. The service will be celebrated with Military Honors conferred by the United States Army. Friends are respectfully invited to attend Joe’s funeral and memorial service which will commence on Friday, September 24 at 10:30am at King of Glory Lutheran Church in Arvada, officiated by the Rev. Dr. Carol Jeunnette. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the Northeastern Junior College Auto Technology Club. Please make checks payable to the NJC Foundation, 100 College Avenue, Sterling, CO 80751.


  • Funeral Service Friday, September 24, 2010

Bennie Joe Umphenour

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September 17, 2011


October 10, 2010

Bev, our heartfelt condolences go out to you and your family. We have very fond memories of our years in the Nomad club and the great time we had at the conventions. Thank you.
Gordon and Suzanne Dudley (Seal Beach, Ca.)

Paul Stedman

September 26, 2010

As his Nephew, I will always remember going over to visit my Grandmother when I was a small boy. I always hoped Uncle Joe was at home because I absolutely loved seeing him and getting to hear his "rock and roll" 78 and 45 rpm records. I loved to listen to Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and countless more. Joe was such a key figure in my life then as I grew to love that music and, subsequently, my love for the guitar. He had such a wonderful sense of humor and quick wit. I am truly honored to have known him. I will always miss him but the great memories will always be with me. Bev, Barb and I are thinking of you during this difficult time and sending all our love.

September 26, 2010

bev, scott smith and I have been thinking of you, God bless Joe, growing up there, he and yourself were two of the finest people I've ever met. God bless you, peace with you and yours every day forward. Debbie Longo (arvada,COLO)

Kathy Oakley Johnson

September 24, 2010

Joe always had a kind word, friendly smile, or humorous greeting (also friendly and kind) for everyone—I always wondered how he remembered so many names. The day my Dad met with the group forming the Mile High Nomad Club was a fortunate one for our entire family and I will always be grateful for the positive influence Joe and the entire “Nomader” experience had on our family, including my children in later years. Joe will be greatly misses, but he lives on because his positive influence on and contributions to Country, community, family, and friends. My heartfelt condolences to Bev and everyone who loved this remarkable man. With love and respect,

Lisa Oakley Meeks

September 24, 2010

Lisa Oakley Meeks

September 24, 2010

My Joe. I think your name was the second thing I learned write after my own. My parents found it adorning the box springs of their bed, the underside of the dining room table and the inside wall of my closet. That last one wasn't found until I was about 12 years old and we were moving. I knew you my entire life. Most of my fondest childhood memories have you in them. My heart is broken knowing I'll never hear you laugh, see you smile or get another hug. I hope you knew how much I loved you. "Love ya, Silly!" And Bev, my deepest condolences to you with much love.

Carol Steinman

September 24, 2010

Beverly, I am so sorry for your loss. You and your family will be in my prayers.

Scott Smith

September 24, 2010

It was always a 'treat' to visit your house on Halloween. The 'Peanuts' characters in the front yard were always very special. Thanks, Joe.

Ruby Watt

September 23, 2010

I've known Joe for many years, although it's been years since I last saw him. We've had many good times with the Nomad club get togethers. He will be greatly missed, My sympathy goes out to Bev and family.