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Monday, April 30, 2007
Toy Benson, 85, longtime resident of Commerce and former Hunt County Constable, died Saturday, April 28, 2007 at the Oaks Manor Nursing Home after a lengthy illness. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at Jones-Walker & Son Funeral Home chapel with Pastor Terry Bryan officiating. Burial will follow in the Shiloh Cemetery. Visitation will be 6-8 p.m. today.
He was born July 19, 1921, in rural Hunt County near the community of Needmore, the only child of Porter Benson and Viola Cotton Benson. He attended public school at both Needmore and Klondike.
He started his long career as a farmer in the Yowell community. He later met Eleanor Cleone Langley, who on June 22, 1941, became his wife. He and Cleone went on to have five children. He continued to work in farming and also started his own service station business in Commerce in the early 1960s. During the mid-1960s, he started serving the people of this area by also working for the City of Commerce as a night watchman and patrolman for two years.
He continued in each of these roles until October 1967, when he was appointed to finish out another's term in office as Hunt County Constable, Precinct 2.
After that, he decided to run for re-election, which again gained him the seat. In total, he ran for office seven times and not only won every election but won every box in those elections except one year when, at the time of the election, he was hospitalized after having surgery and did lose one box. He had a truly outstanding career in the Hunt County Constable position and retired in December 1996 after 29 years of service. During these 29 years, he won numerous commendation awards and recognition for service. Mr. Benson truly enjoyed serving the residents of Hunt County and attributed his long stay to people being good to him and him really feeling like he was making a difference.
Also during this time, Mr. Benson worked for 25 years as a security guard for the Security State Bank in Commerce, now named Provident Bank.
Toy loved life in many forms. He loved to talk and always had a good story to tell and generally found someone to tell it to. He loved his grand- and great-grandchildren and bragged to everyone about them.
He is survived by one son, Randy Benson of Commerce; three daughters, Linda Bearden and husband Bobby of Commerce, Myra Knack, Marie Ewalt of Commerce, and Branda Davis of Commerce; eight grandchildren, Brian Bearden and wife Melissa of Jacksonville, Shannon Wofford and wife Tianna of South Carolina, Michael Davis of Commerce, Nicole Ponder and husband Ernest of Commerce, April Davis of Commerce, Mindy Townsend and husband Wayne of Greenville, Johnathan Benson of Commerce, Josh Benson of Commerce; and eight great-grandchildren, Hunter and Morgan Bearden of Jacksonville, Elainna Wofford of South Carolina, Geneva Ponder of Reilly Springs, Tori Ponder of Paris, Starlynn Ponder of Commerce, Colton Davis of Commerce and Jade Hines of Commerce.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Pallbearers are Brian Bearden, Johnathan Benson, Josh Benson, Michael Davis, Wayne Townsend and Ernest Ponder.
The family would like to express their deep appreciation to Dr. Rick Selvaggi for his sincere and dedicated support during this time and also to the Oaks Manor Nursing Home and Vista Care.
Submitted by Elaine Nall Bay