A role model for his fam­ily

Jamaica Gleaner - - FOOTPRINTS - WIL­LIAM BENN

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, 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 that 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 to be with 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 great­grand­chil­dren. His daugh­ter, Pa­tri­cia Plant, and grand­daugh­ters, Ni­cola Davies and Bianca Noons, pre­de­ceased him.

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