William L. Benson, Jr. ’78
William L. Benson, Jr., died June 26, 2021, at his home in Dover, N.H., surrounded by family. During the final weeks of his life, family members joined together to provide compassionate and loving care, enabling Bill to enjoy views of the Cocheco River and visiting birds out his patio doors.
Bill was born in Bangor, Maine, to Ruth L. (Denzler) and William L. Benson, Sr. He grew up in Bedford, N.H., and South Portland, Maine where he graduated in 1974 from South Portland High School. Athletics came naturally to Bill, and during his school years, he participated in track and field, tennis, and baseball.
A lover of all things nautical, Bill attended Maine Maritime Academy, graduating in 1978 as a merchant marine. In 1979 he married Lynne (MacWilliams) Benson, moving to Portland where their three children grew up. Bill relocated to Dover and continued sailing until his retirement in 2020.
Over 40+ years, Bill worked his way up the ladder, ultimately achieving the high rank of Chief Engineer on a supertanker. In this role, he managed the ship’s engineering department and was responsible for the engine room’s safe, efficient operation as well as that of all shipboard mechanical equipment.
Bill’s career took him to foreign ports of call around the globe, through the Panama and Suez Canals, and – as a part of his military contracts – into war zones. While docked in Africa he went on safari twice, sleeping under a starlit sky. At family holiday gatherings, he shared colorful tales of his seafaring adventures.
Bill was predeceased by his parents, and siblings Alice and Diane Benson. He is survived by his son, Timothy Benson and wife Jill Skillings, daughters Shari and husband Rob Woodard, and Kate and husband Pete Askew; grandchildren Eleanor and Victoria Woodard, and Benjamin Askew; sisters Carolyn Clark and Susan and husband Scott Tompkins; nephew David C. Clark and nieces Joanna Clark and Julia Tompkins.
There will be a private family gathering graveside at Riverside Cemetery in Fairhaven, Mass.