Richard V. Benson, F-100 Pilot USAF, “Headed West” on May 13, 2023.

Richard (Dick) Victor Benson, 93, a 46-year resident of Derry, NH, passed away peacefully and with much love on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at Windham Terrace in Windham, NH. He was born in Waltham, MA, on July 4, 1929, of Swedish lineage and was the eldest child of two of the late Victor B. and Lillian (Anderson) Benson. Dick graduated from Wayland High School in 1947 and earned a B.S. in Marketing and Advertising in 1952 at Northeastern University. For many summers, his family enjoyed vacationing at Lake Winnipesaukee in Meredith, NH, where he was introduced to his beloved future wife, Jane Flather of Meredith.

In the summer of 1952, Richard enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as an aviation cadet. He was Commissioned as a 2nd Lt.- Jet Pilot in September 1953 and later promoted to a 1st Lt.- Jet Fighter Pilot. He was a Korean War veteran, as he was deployed on a “peacekeeping” mission post-treaty, serving at K55 (Osan Air Base,) Korea, Okinawa (Japan), and Formosa (Taiwan). Richard married Jane in 1955 and they drove to CA, where Lt. Benson joined his Fighter-Day Wing at George Air Force Base. In the 435th Fighter-Day Squadron, he was assigned additional duties as Squadron Adjutant and Personnel Officer. He flew the F-86 Sabre jet (at Flight Commander Level) in Korea and, later at GAFB, he was “among the first USAF Super Sonic pilots” to fly the new North American Aviation F-100 Super Sabre. He was initiated into the NAA “Mach Buster’s Club” in 1955. Richard was very proud to serve in the USAF.

Dick retired as the Derry District Manager from the Public Service Company of New Hampshire after 36 years of service. Before Derry, he was the Conway District Manager from 1964 to 1973, where he served his community in many ways including: the Conway School Board, Director of the Carroll County YMCA, and teaching skiing to local school children via the Eastern Slope Ski Club Junior Ski Program at Mt. Cranmore. He was competitive in local tennis tournaments and hilarious when starring in two community shows at the Eastern Slope Playhouse: Peter Pinkham’s, Resort, (1970) and The Cat and the Canary (1971).

While in Derry, Dick enjoyed immersing himself in local committees, boards, and activities, including serving as President of the Derry Rotary Club (1984-1985) and Director of the Marion Gerrish Community Center. Dick was honored by the Derry Rotary as a Paul Harris Fellow, which is the highest form of recognition for someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the community. Similarly, Dick received “Living Treasures Recognition” by the Town of Derry in 2019.

He was a talented amateur artist and took lessons to hone his skills later in life. He painted lovely watercolors of New England themes. As a PSNH employee, Dick submitted, “Sugarhouse in Winter” to the 1997 “On My Own Time” State Exhibition in Manchester presented by Federated Arts. To his delight, he won a regional Blue Ribbon.

Cherished by his family, Dick was a caring, supportive, responsible father, husband, and family member. His optimism, unrelenting quick wit, and “twinkle in his eye,” will never be forgotten. He was truly, “One of the Good Guys…” His family is so deeply grateful. Dick is survived by his daughter, Sarah Jane Benson Rosch and her husband, Steve, of Trumbull, CT, and his son, Stephen Flather Benson and his wife, Katie, of New Hartford, CT, as well as two grandchildren, Hannah Benson and Zachary Benson. His wife, Jane, predeceased him in 2020, as did his sister, Barbara Benson, in 2018.

We remain extremely grateful for the outstanding Windham Terrace Team and wonderful service from Amedisys Hospice.

On Saturday, June 10, 2023, a Celebration of Life was held at the Peabody Funeral Home, 290 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, NH (03053) with a reception at 9:00 am followed by a Memorial Service at 10:15 a.m. The Rev. Dean E. LeFrançois officiated. A future, private committal service will be held in Nashua.

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