The Obit For Stuart Benson

Stuart S. Benson

Published in Austin American-Statesman from September 5 to September 6, 2012


Stuart Swafford Benson, 82, loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully in his sleep on September 2, 2012, in Austin, Texas.

Stuart was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 43 years, Rhoda Cox Benson; his parents, Wiley and Lena Ellison Benson of Abilene; his older brother, Paul Benson of Hamilton, Montana; and his daughter-in-law, Lisa Anne Barbour of Beaver Creek, Colorado. Born on February 26, 1930, in Abilene, Texas, Stuart graduated from Abilene High and the University of Texas.

Stuart played on the UT baseball team under legendary coach Bibb Faulk during 1950 and 1951. In 1950, while playing catcher, Stuart helped lead the team to the National Championship at the then brand-new Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. In 2010, the College World Series invited Stuart to join eleven former teammates at the final championship game ever held at Rosenblatt. It was a moment, and a weekend he truly loved!

Stuart proudly served as a member of the U. S. Army during the Korean War. He had tremendous respect for our armed forces. Every time he went to Starbuck's, which was quite often, he left his credit card at the counter so any serviceman who came in could enjoy a coffee or breakfast courtesy of Stuart. He never sought any recognition for his generosity as the only people who knew he was doing this were the Starbuck's employees.

After his Army stint, Stuart returned to UT in 1955, where he played one more year for Coach Faulk, was first team All-Southwest Conference, and developed many lifetime friendships. Stuart then attended the University of Texas Law School and passed the Bar in 1959.

In 1960 he joined Sidney Purser in his firm specializing in real estate law, and that firm evolved into Purser & Benson by the mid-sixties. After Sidney Purser retired, Stuart went into private practice, sharing offices with fellow attorney Wroe Owens.

During all of this time, Stuart pursued his earliest love, baseball, as he joined his college roommate and teammate, Robert Towery, coaching young teenagers for over 12 years at the Austin Lions Babe Ruth League.

While coaching Babe Ruth baseball, Stuart met a widowed mother of one of his players. Stuart subsequently married Rhoda Cox Barbour on October 2, 1964, and she and her boys became the loves of his life and brought him much contentment and joy.

Besides baseball, Stuart loved golf, and was a member of the Austin Country Club for many years. One of his favorite memories was making a hole-in-one on the famous number 7 at Pebble Beach, on his 65th birthday.

Stuart loved to read, travel, boat on Lake Austin, and play bridge with many friends over the years.

Along with his wife, Rhoda, Stuart was a 2nd Generation Founder of the Austin Community Foundation , and they were initial investors in the landmark Austin restaurant, Fonda San Miguel.

Since 1965, Stuart was a supporter and choir member of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in West Austin, where he also served on the Vestry.

Stuart is survived by his three sons, David Barbour of Dallas, Larry Barbour and his wife Carol of Houston, and Peter Barbour of Johnson City; his grandchildren, Baker Barbour, Brandy Barbour Morrison and her husband Bill, Barrell Barbour Jones and her husband Jacob, Charles Barbour and his wife Emily, Mary Barbour, Blake Barbour and Benson Barbour; and his great-grandchildren, Riley and Will Morrison.

A Private Interment will be held for the family on Saturday, September 8, 2012 at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. This will be followed by a Celebration of Stuart's life at Fonda San Miguel at 5 pm where the family will greet family and friends.

In lieu of flowers please make a donation to one of Stuart's favorite charities: American Heart Association , M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Settlement Club.