- About Us
Marland E. “Ben” Benner, 92, passed away February 5, 2018, his beloved son Timothy being at his bedside. He was born in Mahanoy City, PA on December 6, 1925 to Marland E. Benner Sr. and Gertrude Powell-Benner. He attended high school in Lansdowne, PA. where he met his future wife Jean Tobin. Immediately following high school graduation in 1943, he volunteered for service in the United States Army. Testing indicated he was officer material and he was sent to the College of Engineering at the University of Florida for the 1943 fall semester.
Marland was activated during the early part of 1944 and after completing infantry training, arrived in France in September1944. He was deployed to Northern France in November and saw extensive action during the final months of the European campaign. He was awarded the Silver Star for valor under fire on February 14, 1945 in what is known as the "Battle of Rimling". Marland celebrated his 19th birthday in a foxhole two- months earlier in what was the coldest European winter in 50 years.
Marland returned stateside in April 1946 and enrolled at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH under the GI Bill. He also re-connected with Jean, who occupied his thoughts throughout the difficult war years and was thereafter the light of his life. They married February 8,1948. Marland reported at his 1950 graduation from Dartmouth that he had been very fortunate marrying someone who could do his homework.
Ben and Jean had four children, their daughter, Barbara, died in 1958 at the age of 6 years, a tremendous loss for the young family. He is survived by three sons, Thomas David Benner of Oak Harbor, WA, Timothy John Benner of Jacksonville, WA and Bruce Powell Benner of Maui. He is also survived by twelve grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Marland had no siblings.
The family lived in Omaha, Nebraska from 1954 until 1965, where Ben spent every spare weekend hunting pheasants and quail in the fall. After moving to Orlando in 1968 and buying a fishing boat, those spare weekends were spent deep in the Gulf Stream in pursuit of dolphin, spanish mackerel, sailfish, blue fish and the occasional black marlin. Crew members were forewarned, if the fish were biting, neither seasickness nor a gale force squall would compel "Ben" to return to shore.
In the late 1970s, Ben and Jerry Birdsong formed "Benner, Birdsong and Associates", a manufacturer representative group for home healthcare products headquartered in Orlando. His son, Bruce, joined the company in the early 1980s as the company grew to become a regional sales leader of home health products. In 1985 the Company's name was changed to "Benner and Associates". Bruce took the helm shortly thereafter. The Company was later sold to Respironics/Phillips Healthcare. Many of Ben's earliest hires became leaders in the home health products industry.
Upon retiring in 1988, Ben discovered the purpose of life and he and Jean settled into a new home on the fairway of the first hole at the Orange Tree Country Club in Orlando. He was a regular tournament participant and a respected competitor on local golf courses. Every fall he traveled to the west slope of the Rockies to join his hunting buddies for the annual elk hunt, above the tree line on horseback. He continued to participate in the hunt into his 80s.
All who knew and loved him remember his wonderful sense of humor, generosity of spirit and passion for life. Most of all, he will be remembered for the deep and abiding love and dedication to Jean. Ben passed 2 days before his 70th wedding anniversary to Jean, who survives him and continues to reside in Jacksonville.
A ceremony to honor Marland's memory will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, February 17, 2018 in Cypress Village in the Egret Hall.