Francis M. Benson, Jr.

  • Died: June 7, 2016
  • Location: Newton, Massachusetts

Eaton & Mackay Funeral Home

465 Centre St
Newton, MA 02458
Tel. (617) 244-2034

Tribute & Message From The Family

Francis M. Benson Jr., 87, of Newton, Mass., died peacefully at home on Tuesday, June 7, 2016.
Frank was born in Boston to Francis M., Sr. and Gertrude (McCloud) Benson, the first of four children. From the age of 11, he, his two brothers and their sister were raised in Medford by their mother Gertrude, who worked to support the family as a seamstress and costume-maker. Born into the Great Depression, Frank quickly learned the value of a job, and from an early age was never without one. When just a boy, he and his siblings, in costumes made by their mother, performed as tumbling acrobats. He delivered Hires Root Beer around Boston as a part-time job while in school. After graduating from Medford Vocational, he worked maintaining the wiring of the electronic computing machines at State Street Trust Company in Boston until drafted into the Army in 1951.
Frank served in Korea as Central Switchboard Supervisor for the 226th Signal Service Company, but most of his war stories focused on peeling potatoes for KP duty rather than on military exploits. After an honorable discharge, he went back to school, first at Coyne Electric in Boston, and then to Wentworth College on the GI Bill where he earned a degree in electrical engineering. It was at Coyne that he met another Korean vet named Albert Sullivan, who had a sister named Sally. Sally and Frank were married in Arlington, Mass. in 1957. Frank was working for Honeywell, Inc. and less than a year after the wedding he was transferred to California. He and Sally welcomed three daughters to the family while in L.A., and when Frank was transferred back east to Massachusetts, they welcomed three more. After another transfer to California, this time to San Diego, they returned east in 1971 and the family settled once and for all in Newtonville. Frank was a devoted husband and an ideal father, teaching, helping, loving, and supporting his girls throughout their lives. Frank was an active member of Grace Church in Newton Corner, where he volunteered his time, and the computer expertise gained while working for Honeywell. During his more than 30-year career there, his work changed with the times, from wiring control devices to programming early computers. Always an avid learner, Frank was an early adopter of the personal computer and brought home an Apple IIe in 1983. After retiring in the 1990s, Frank started his own handyman business to keep busy and to share with others his remarkable ability to fix just about anything. He enjoyed company, was always up for a game of cribbage or a cup of coffee, and was willing to help with any home repair project, large or small. Thanks to his endlessly generous nature and gregarious personality he made friends wherever he went.
He is survived by his loving daughters and their husbands: Kirsten and Bob Knell of Watertown; Karyn and Jim D'Entremont of NH; Audrey and Bob Savill of Framingham; Rebel Stewart of Athol; Amy Benson and Tom Lingner of Belmont; Katherine and Jack Sweeney of Arlington; twelve grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren; his brother, Robert Benson of Florida; a brother and sister-in-law, Albert and Charlotte Sullivan of Concord; a sister-in-law Barbara Sullivan; and his many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Sally, his brother Donal Benson, and his sister Nancy (Benson) Schaffenburg Cross.
A memorial service in Frank's honor will be held at Grace Episcopal Church, 76 Eldredge St., Newton, Mass., on Saturday, June 25th at 11AM. A small reception will follow in the church hall. Interment will take place in a private ceremony in the Coleman Memorial Garden at Grace Church at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, Boston, MA or to Northeast Animal Shelter, 347 Highland Avenue, Salem, MA.