Friday, April 10, 2009

In Loving Memory of Grandpa Bennion

"The trouble with pictures is that they look like you" -Grandpa Bennion
Shay's Grandpa Bennion died on March 31st 2009. Grandpa raised Shay after Shay's parents passed away. We went to his funeral services on Monday. I was so impressed with some of the stories that were shared and I 'd like to share them with all of you. Words can not describe how amazing this man was, but I will do my best......
Grandpa graduated from Monticello High School, served a mission in the New England States and served in the US army during World War II. He graduated from the University of Utah, receiving degree in law and military science. He married Margaret Whitton in the Salt Lake Temple on March 21st 1949. They had three children Grayson, Scott, and Shay's Mom, Jana.
Marge died on Feb 14th 1954 in a car accident. Later he married Ivalou Sperry in the SLC Temple. He adopted her two sons, Don and Vernon. They had two more children An and Frank. Ivalou died in 1975. And later his daughter, Jana, died in a car accident. Bennion practiced law in Monticello for over 59 years. He was appointed United States Federal Magistrate/Judge in 1979, serving for 28 years. He was awarded so many awards in his life time. He never spoke of them, he was so humble. Southern Utah University in Cedar City honored him as one who had contributed significantly to his community. He was an active Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He served as Bishop and many other callings. His last calling he was a faithful Temple worker in the Monticello Utah Temple. He knew what it was like to have tragic trial . He lost both wives , a son-in-law (Shay's Dad) and his daughter. (Shay's Mom) He took Shay and his brothers in and gave them so much love. Shay lived with him until we were married in 1998. Grandpa was Shay's best friend. Grandpa called every night until the night he died. They would talk and he would build Shay and give him comfort. He always asked "What can I do for you". Even though he was in so much pain himself. Grandpa never complained about his life. He felt so blessed. When you would ask him how he was doing he would say" better than I deserve." When he talked to or of me, my name wasn't just Lonni. It was "sweet little Lonni".He was faithful until the end. He had so much Charity in his life.
Grandpa was the most generous man I have ever met. During the funeral I heard all of his children speak of him. They never heard him say a cuss word or a mean word about anyone. He said "cussing is for those who do not know how to properly express their emotions." He had so much patience with his children. He never spanked them and he taught them by example. He lived the life he preached to them to live. One son talked about traveling with grandpa. He said " I thought we would never get to our destination because he kept stopping and helping those that needed help along the way." He would often pick up strangers that needed a place to stay. He would feed them and give them a bed for the night and help them in anyway he could. A few years ago I met one of his "strangers" that he picked up. She was traveling from England. She was hitch hiking and Bennion stopped. He picked her up gave her a place to stay and a nice meal, learned all he could about her and helped her on her way. That was 15 years ago. They kept in touch over the years and she came to visit with her family several times. This is just one of them. There were so many. He always left a place better than he found it. He was known to walk into a restaurant and secretly pay for every one's meal. I remember eating at Wagon Wheel Pizza last year. He came in talked to a few people and then left. When people finished their meal and went to pay they had discovered the bill was already taken care of. He must of done this thousands of times. I also heard at the services that he home taught a family that was struggling financially. They had a teenage daughter that wanted to go to prom. Bennion took her prom dress shopping so she would have a great experience at prom. I read a article in The San Juan News Paper that was titled Fond Farewell to a Local Icon. It stated that he was known all over Utah for his public services. Many services he did in secret .He was also known for sneaking up behind you and poking you in the ribs. (He got me so many times.) He would pick up trash while on his way to work or the post office. Monticello will not be the same without this man. He was famous to my children for his "secret recipe hot cocoa".He did so much good for everyone that came in contact with him. Grandpa drove an old truck and lived in the same modest house in Monticello. His clothes were all from second hand stores. He never spent much on himself. But he was so generous to everyone else around him. Sometimes we would check the mail and there would be a letter from him with money, just when we needed it the most. ( He was so close to the Spirit) I would call and thank him and he would say "oh, did I do that?"He was not greedy in any way, shape or form. He was just like our Savior Jesus Christ. Always helping those in need and giving all he had. I will miss him so much. My words alone will not give him the honor he deserves. He was AMAZING. My boys love him and cherish him and our baby girl will be named after his daughter he lost many years ago. Jana. He referred to her as his "Sweet Little Jana" He was often found at her grave in Monticello. Now he is with her and so happy! Before he died I told him we were going to name our baby Jana. He was so thrilled. I hope I can give my children the kind of life he gave his children. He is a hero to many. We will honor his life by living the way he taught us to live. We love you Grandpa Bennion, Thank you for your great example and much needed love!

7 comments:

Ricci said...

What a sweet story...isn't it great to have wonderful people in our lives like that!

allgirls said...

he was such a great guy and he will be missed. whenever we would see him uptown he would always say how cute my girls are and try to get one of them to go home with him.

Amelia and Elliott Smith said...

Wow, what a great man! I love that you are naming your daughter after your husbands mom.

Curt & Ricci said...

I couldn't help but cry through the entire story, I never met Bennion, I wish that I had, I have never met anyone in my life like the way he sounds.

Page Family said...

What a great story!! What an amazing man, a great example for all!! I think that is great naming your daughter Jana, what a legacy that lives on with your family!! Very sorry for your loss.

christine said...

what a wonderful man and great life he lived. thanks for sharing so much about him. even though we never got to meet him, we are still inspired by who he was. how special that you are naming your baby girl Jana! She will love learning about her heritage someday.

Travis and Liz said...

Thanks for sharing about Grandpa Bennion. He truely was amazing. Imagine what our world would be like if more people were like him. He helped me and my family on several occasions. Our deepest sympathies.