Ward Byrd “Buddy” Benson, Jr., 89, of Galveston, passed away Wednesday, December 13, 2017. He was born January 19, 1928 in El Paso, Texas to Ward Byrd Benson, Sr. and Cora Burton Velvin Benson and moved to Galveston as a small child. Buddy joined the Marine Corps at age 17 and served in China during World War II. After being honorably discharged, he attended North Texas University, majoring in business administration. He met Anna Ruth Humphreys, and they were married on June 4, 1950. Together they raised their four children: Steven Ward Benson, Robert Dan Benson, John Taylor Benson, and Zoe Ann Benson Buzbee. After college, Buddy and Anna Ruth opened a Dairy Mart franchise in La Marque which they operated for a couple of years. After that, Buddy joined his father’s auto parts and service business, and they opened a new and used car sales dealership with Hudson Motor Car Company, which they operated until Hudson went out of business. A Western Auto franchise was then acquired in 1955 and remained in business until 1987.
Buddy believed strongly in being active in and serving his community. He was a member of the Rotary Club, where he maintained perfect attendance for over 50 years. Buddy was an over 50-year member of Harmony Masonic Lodge #6, Galveston Scottish Rite Valley, San Felipe de Austin Commandery # 1 Knights Templar, and longtime member of El Mina Shrine Center of Galveston. Buddy volunteered his time to feed the homeless on Saturday mornings and volunteered at the Shriners Hospital for Children. He and Dr. Bill Glenn, Jr. faithfully delivered Meals on Wheels for many years. Buddy and Anna Ruth were one of the three couples that founded the Libbie’s Place Senior Day Program of Moody Methodist Church. He also served on the board of the Salvation Army.
Buddy was a longtime and active member of Moody Memorial First United Methodist Church. In fact, he was the longest serving member of the church, joining at age nine, which made him a member for 80 years. He served as Chair or member of every church committee; was active in the Methodist Men; served as Administrative Board Chair and Chair of Trustees; served for many years as the Moody Church Treasurer, and was a member of the first Board of Directors of the Permanent Endowment Fund of the church. He was also the first President of the Sunday School Class “The Wedding Ring Class.” Buddy was known for always being a supportive, loyal, and true friend to every minister of Moody Methodist Church.
Buddy filled his spare time with many hobbies. He held a private pilot’s license and enjoyed flying Cessna single engine airplanes from Scholes Field. He also loved camping, hunting, and fishing. He particularly enjoyed his time fishing and relaxing with friends and family at his beach house in Bolivar and often said to both friends and strangers, “Come on down to the beach house!”
Buddy Benson was truly a friend to everyone he met. He never complained and never burdened others with any of his health issues. Even as he aged if anyone asked him how he was doing he’d always say, “Just PERFECT!”
Buddy was preceded in death by his father, Ward B. Benson, and his mother, Cora Benson.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Anna Ruth Benson; his children, Steven Ward Benson, Robert Dan Benson, John Taylor Benson, Zoe Ann Benson Buzbee, and his six grandchildren: Teal Jamail Benson, Taylor Jamail Benson, Trevor Dan Benson, Elizabeth Anne Buzbee, Anthony Glenn Buzbee, Jr., Mary Margaret Buzbee, and Robert Ward Buzbee.
Buddy’s family will receive visitors from 5:00 until 7:00 pm, Sunday, December 17, at Malloy & Son Funeral Home. His funeral service will be at 11:00 am, Monday, December 18, at Moody Methodist Church, with a reception following the service. Burial will be held at Galveston Memorial Park in Hitchcock.
Pallbearers will be Steve Benson, Danny Benson, John Benson, Bob Farmer, Tom Glenn, and Cirilo Ostio. Honorary pallbearers are Mary “Flower” Buzbee, Bob Gard, Dr. Bill Glenn, Jr., Harrold Henck, and Fred Wurst.
Memorial gifts may be given in honor or memory of Ward B. Benson to Libbie’s Place Senior Day Program, in care of Moody Methodist Church.