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Footprints | William Benn - A role model for his family

Published:Tuesday | October 11, 2016 | 10:00 AM

William Anthony 'Tony' Benn was considered a role model of a husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and uncle.

Born in Portland, Jamaica on June 24, 1922 to Jean and Novar Benn, his

family moved to New Zealand when he was two and a half years old, but returned to the island two and half years later later. At 13 he was enrolled at Dartmouth Royal Naval College at which Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was also a student.

It is said that together they got into their fair share of mischief at Dartmouth.

Upon graduation from Dartmouth in March 1940, Tony joined the British Royal Navy and served during World War II on both destroyers and submarines.

It was while on shore leave in Troon, Scotland, that he met his bride-to-be

Suzanne 'Sue Sue' Thom. They were married on February 15, 1947.

At the end of the war, the couple returned to Tony's family property in

Cedar Valley, Portland where they began their adventures in farm life and

became successful farmers of banana for export, citrus, Blue Mountain

coffee, coconuts, poultry and cattle. They also produced four daughters and one son.

Tony became an active member of the community, which he loved, as a member of the local church his father built, a leader in the poultry industry, a yachtsman and a Justice of the Peace, as his father before him.

So popular was he that people would travel for miles to his home in Cedar Valley to enjoy the family's hospitality.

In 1977, during a time when Jamaica was experiencing political unrest, Tony and 'Sue Sue' sailed their yacht 'Lady Kate' to the Cayman Islands, lived on-board and operated charters for tourists on the island.

One year later, they sailed from Grand Cayman to Galveston, Texas, before heading to Kemah, East Texas where he raised poultry and cattle in the San Augustine area, while living a full and happy life.

Tony and 'Sue Sue' retired to Houston, Texas to be near their children and grandchildren and developed a long and meaningful relationship with members of the St John's Presbyterian Church, where they worshipped, as well as the many friends they made.

On Thursday, September 15, 2016 Tony went to be with the Lord at 94.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 69 years 'Sue Sue'; his children:

Sheila (Christopher) Davies; (William) Plant; Valerie Noons; Penny (Allen) Fletcher and Dorian (Kathy) Benn; 12 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. His daughter Patricia Plant and granddaughters, Nicola Davies and Bianca Noons, predeceased him.