Francis A. “Ben” Benton, 90, of Emlenton, entered the presence of his Savior on Monday, March 14, 2022, with his family at his side following a brief illness. Born July 12, 1931, in Altoona, PA, a son of the late Edward and Alice Buige, he grew up in Nanty Glo, PA. Following his graduation from Nanty Glo High School in 1949, he enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving in Korea as a radio operator. After his discharge, he enrolled at Indiana State Teachers College (now IUP), graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1956. He also received a master’s degree in Education from the University of Pittsburgh. He taught in the Gateway School District, subsequently moving into administration as a principal with the Gateway, Moshannon Valley, and Allegheny-Clarion Valley School Districts, retiring in 1990.
Ben is survived by his wife of 66 years, the former Annette Dudek. He is also survived by his children, Scott (Beth) Benton of Allison Park and Paula (Nevin) Saylor of Indiana; seven grandchildren, Joseph (Lauren) Saylor, Benjamin (Lauren) Saylor, Annabeth (Zachery) Karcher, Stephen (Caitlin) Benton, Andrew (Paige) Benton, Philip Benton, and Faith Benton; and nine great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brothers Anthony Buige and James Calhoun, sister-in-law Barbara Buige (widow of his late brother Edward Buige, Jr.), and many nieces and nephews.
Ben was proud of and deeply devoted to his family and took every opportunity to be present for as many games, concerts, and events as possible. He was also a committed man of faith and prayer. He served as the teacher of the adult Sunday School class at New Zion Evangelical Congregational Church for many years, and was still actively teaching until the week before his passing. His values of family and faith have been fully embraced by the succeeding generations, with his immediate family of 27 gathering last year to honor and celebrate him on his 90th birthday. Ben enjoyed the outdoors, traveling, cooking, and was a passionate life-long learner. He had a gift for connecting with people, and always found something in common with everyone he met.
Family and friends will be received at the Hile Funeral Home Inc., 1204 Kerr Avenue, Emlenton, PA 16373, from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm Friday, March 18. The funeral service will be held at the Emlenton United Methodist Church, 1303 Kerr Ave., Emlenton, at 11 am Saturday, March 19, with the Rev. Lewis Bennett, pastor of New Zion E.C. Church, officiating. Interment will follow at the Emlenton Cemetery. Condolences may be sent by visiting www.hilefh.com.
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