BLACK RIVER, NY — Clarence Gale “Frenchy” Benware, 94, of Black River, NY, passed away Nov. 16, 2019, at his home surrounded by family.
He was born April 24, 1925, in Herrings, the son of the late Ballard and Eva (Serviss) Benware.
The family thanks the excellent caregivers who with kindness and compassion cared for him for the past three years: Mary LeFevre, Diane Kilburn, Doris Robbins, Robin Thorne and Tina Woodruff. Their amazing dedication will forever be remembered.
During the last three weeks of his life Hospice provided health care guidance.
Dad proudly served in the United States Navy and was a disabled World War II veteran. He enlisted in the Navy with his brother, Lyndon, in November 1942. He completed basic training at the US Naval Training Station in Sampson, New York. He was assigned to the Amphibious Forces and sailed to England on the Queen Mary along with thousands of other troops. He served on the LST-725 and the LION 3. The LST was headed for Normandy; it was heavily damaged and Dad was injured and waited months for surgery. He was rerouted to Tunisia, Africa where he contracted malaria. He stated when his fever was raging that he could not recall some events. He then served as a gunner aboard the class destroyer, the USS Allen M. Sumner in the Pacific. His final assignment was served on the USS Benevolence, a US Navy hospital ship. The Benevolence was anchored off Japan where the crew processed liberated Allied prisoners of war and cared for wounded troops headed back to the United States. He was awarded the following service medals: the European-African-Middle Eastern Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the Navy Occupation Service Medal with the “Asia” clasp and the World War II Victory Medal. Dad was honorably discharged from the Navy on January 29, 1946. Dad believed, “Freedom is worth fighting for.” He was honored to be one of 28 veterans nominated for New York State Senate’s “Veterans Hall of Fame” for his previous military service and continuing work in the community.
Dad married Marjorie Houghton on Dec. 13, 1946. Mom was the love of his life. She predeceased him on Dec. 7, 2009, just 6 days shy of their 63rd wedding anniversary. He was also predeceased by his youngest daughter, Susan G. Benware, infant great granddaughter, Mya Keen, his three brothers: Lyndon, Harold and Carl Benware and one sister Jeanette Calkins. Three daughters survive him: Penny (Arthur) Keen of Black River, Sandra (Roger) Marland of Plattsburgh, NY, and Brenda (Curtis) Yeary of Crowley, Texas. Also, surviving are his 7 grandchildren: Michelle (Krister) Dunn, Chris (Tami) Marland, Joshua (Amy) O’Kay, Joel (Heather) Keen, Andrew (Alayna) Marland, Scott (Elizabeth) Keen and Jodi (Jared) Barber, his 17 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Dad believed, “Family is worth fighting for.”
Dad and Mom attended night school in 1961 and received their high school equivalency; they believed finishing high school was important. Dad worked in the local paper mills for 10 years then he went on to become a carpenter. He helped build several local schools before he became the maintenance and construction supervisor at Fort Drum. He was a hard worker and possessed a strong work ethic. He retired from that title in 1987. Dad served as past treasurer for the local Conservative party. He demonstrated his love for Mom, for his country and for Jesus. He served in several different ministries of the church: building and maintenance projects, song leader, youth activities and visitation. He set a good example for his children by demonstrating the importance of honesty, integrity, generosity and a strong faith in Jesus. Dad believed, “Faith is worth fighting for.” As the American poet, Robert Frost, so aptly wrote in his poem, The Road Not Taken, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—-I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
Calling hours will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, at the Lundy Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Inc., 500 State St., Carthage, NY. The funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, in the Lundy Funeral Home Chapel. Pastor Jack Young of the Light House Bible Baptist Church, Webster, New York will be officiating. Military honors will follow the funeral service.
Donations in his memory may be made to Black River Ambulance Squad, Inc., PO Box 314, Black River, NY 13612 or Jefferson County SPCA, 25056 Water Street, Watertown, New York 13601.
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