Bill: Nov 4, 1923 – Feb 19, 2009

by Roxanne on February 19, 2009

Dad passed away in gentle peace tonight, after demonstrating such courage and kindness up until his last breath.

Update Fri, March 20: New photos added.


1 Rick Rey 02.20.09 at 1:07 pm

R.I.P. Mr. Benton. My thoughts are with Roxanne and her family.

2 greg 02.20.09 at 1:20 pm

Thank you Roxanne for sharing your father with us. May he rest in peace

3 Ross Mitton 02.20.09 at 1:27 pm

To Roxanne and Family

Deep sorrow for your loss. My offerings:
1. Be gentle on yourself, you won’t know how grief can affect you
2. You will make the transition from thinking of your loss fifty times a day, to once every fifty days; do not rush this process.

Reef love from Ross Mitton

4 Stephen McMahon 02.20.09 at 1:34 pm

I didn’t know Mr. Benton, but after having watched the video on BeachWalks back in December I feel like the lives of those who did know him could only be richer because they did. What he said about having a positive mental attitude were exactly what I needed at that point in my life.

5 Susan Bratton 02.20.09 at 2:08 pm

Through Rox’s stories of her Dad I really came to appreciate the love and gratitude she felt for her father.
He did an amazing job managing his health that was an inspiration to so many of us.
I am thinking of the whole Benton family today with heartfelt wishes.
Susan Bratton

6 Hilary 02.20.09 at 3:26 pm

I’m so sorry to hear your dad has passed.

Even when you know it’s inevitable it can be really really hard. I lost one of my 2 cats to CRF (kidney disease) Jan 27th and though I knew it was coming I didn’t realize how soon because he was cheating death and enjoying life up until the very end. I miss him dearly. (I need to stop crying in the coffee shop here.) I had an amazing cat and you had an amazing father.

Your father had an wonderful attitude on life and you could just hear his positivity and gratitude in your video. It sounds like he had an amazing quality of life despite illnesses and his attitude probably played a major role in that.

Thank you for sharing that little bit of him with all of us and preserving that memory of him for the future.

7 Steve Stewart 02.20.09 at 4:38 pm

So sorry to hear about the passing of your father Rox. That video is a real testament to who he was and how he choose to live his life. We truly are a reflection of our families and it’s easy to see where you get your compassion and keen sense of balance in life.

8 Jonnie Santos 02.20.09 at 5:05 pm

Thanks for sharing Bill with us. Even knowing just a little of him through the Internet was/is wonderful.

Vaya con Dios Memo!

9 Rob Shore 02.20.09 at 5:20 pm

Roxanne and Family;

Sincerest condolences. This site is such a wonderful tribute. As my parents are both nearing their 80th birthday, you remind me of new ways honor them. Thanks.


10 Jamison Tilsner 02.20.09 at 7:48 pm


My thoughts are with you and your family. Looks like you have an inspiring life to celebrate.

11 Dan Brown 02.20.09 at 8:27 pm

Sincere condolences to the Wm. T. Benton family.
Though known only to many of us via virtual cyberspace, please know our lives are the better for it. We remain inspired by the life you lived and shared.

12 Donna "Champuru" 02.21.09 at 12:18 am

My deepest sympathy, Roxanne. I’m sorry for your loss.

13 Buddy 'Friendly' Wachenheimer 02.21.09 at 4:06 am

R.I.P. Mr. Benton. My Sincerest condolences to Rox, her family, and Shane. I am so very sorry to hear about your loss.

Remember two things in this time of pain:
Nothing in life is forever.
And this too shall pass.

14 Linda Williams 02.21.09 at 4:19 am

It was with deep regret and sadness that I learned of your dad’s death, Rox. Please know that my thoughts are with you and other members of your family.

15 Kate Iredale 02.21.09 at 4:34 am

Roxanne and family,
Thanks for sharing these images of Bill with his thoughts and philosophy on living a fulfilling life…a warm and wonderful man who was obviously an inspiration to his family and all those who knew him. What a wonderful tribute to him!

My very deepest sympathy for your loss. My thoughts are with you.

16 Lee 02.21.09 at 6:49 am

Many blessings Roxanne and Benton Clan in this time of transition.
Roxanne, my heart opens more with your sharing over the years, of your exploration of love with your father and family. I witness deep compassion, acceptance, resilience and profound love. We humans truly are amazing in this wonderful Universe!

Much love,

17 Ana 02.21.09 at 8:03 am

Dearest Roxanne, sending you and your family all of our love and condolences. Your father has moved onto a better place in peace…but he will “always” be with you.
Much aloha…Ana, Ben, Chris, Caroline & Matthew

18 iSteeve 02.21.09 at 2:24 pm


Sorry to hear about your Dad. Condolences from all of us here. I remember the podcast of last year well and I’ll listen again..


19 Mary Beth (Couzens) Henry 02.21.09 at 4:53 pm

How wonderful for me to be able to hear Mr. Benton’s voice (on the podcast) again after so many years! Soooo soothing! My thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this sad time. He truly was a wonderful man and you have been blessed to be such a big part of his life!!! xoxo mary beth (couzens) henry

20 Stephanie McDilda 02.22.09 at 2:43 am

Barbara – My deepest love and condolences to you and your family. Although I did not know your dad, between your wonderful loving stories and this fabulous web site, I wish I had. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time.

21 patrick foster 02.22.09 at 4:34 am

So sorry for your loss. Our best wishes for you and your family-

22 Pam Havens 02.22.09 at 5:40 am

Barbara I am so sorry for your loss. I know how deeply you loved your father and your life together. I hold a loving and peaceful space for you and your family.

23 Katie McManners 02.22.09 at 5:49 am

Roxanne and family, my love to you during this time. –Katie

24 Trish Cseh 02.22.09 at 6:22 am

Hey Roxanne, this is your cousin Trish that you have not seen in years…..thank you for the beautiful tribute to your father. He was always such an inspiration to my father, and Dad was ALWAYS so proud of his big brother and his accomplishments and so enjoyed your mother and father’s hospitality during their trips to Palm Beach. Bert was with Dad the night he had his massive stroke. Bert was convinced that Dad was dying that night. The next morning when Dad miraculously regained consiousness, he told Bert that he had spent the night with his mother and father. I feel sure that they are all together now!!!
Words cannot express the hole that is left in life when men with such charisma and strength are no longer with us physically. There are still so many times that I long to pick up the phone and share something with Dad. We will pray for you all as you adjust to life without William P Benton. And once again, thank you for the lovely tribute….
God Bless, Trish and family

25 mike jackson 02.22.09 at 10:45 am

bill was a legend in the auto industry. i met him after he had retired but we shared many remarkable conversations about the business. he never lost his passion for the business and his insights were always keen. he was a remarkable man with a indomintable spirit.

26 Vernon Brown 02.22.09 at 1:47 pm

Rox, just wanted to send my condolences to you and your family during this difficult time. The joy and memories will live on forever…peace be the journey.

27 Celeste J. Chittaphong 02.22.09 at 5:45 pm

What a great Dad. My heartfelt thoughts & prayers are with you Roxanne and all the family. May you all be comforted and strengthened during this difficult time by the love he left with you here and carries on till you meet again.

28 Sprite 02.22.09 at 6:55 pm

Oh, Rox, I am so sorry for and share your loss with you. Despite knowing your dad is in a beautiful place & at rest now, I understand the depth of a loss this is.
*prayers, love, and always in my thoughts*

29 Paula Lesso 02.23.09 at 3:30 am

Dearest Barbara,

Thank you so much for sharing your dad. I know how much you will miss him. Your spirit and strength have been amazing. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Much Love and many Hugs,

Paula Lesso

30 Scott Smith 02.23.09 at 6:46 am

Dear Benton Family,

Bill, also known as “Mr. B”, lived his life to the absolute fullest and has been an inspiration to me since I was just a little boy. His love for his beloved Blanch and daughters Nancy, Judy, Roxanne, and Barbara was always evident in his voice as he loved to talk about them and what was happening in their lives.

Bill was a great man, great teacher and great friend! The World is a better place because of him!

With Deepest Sympathy and Love,


31 Billie and Lee Miskowski 02.23.09 at 7:35 am

When JOHN WAYNE was asked to define the word, COURAGE, he said, “When you know there’s trouble ahead, you just saddle-up and get goin’ anyway.” This IS Bill Benton. Whether it be business dealings, living/social matters, or illness – Bill knew how to “face the music” better than anyone I’ve known. And he did it all with such grace and aplomb that he dignified himself unbelievably in the process. It also noticeable how Bill impacted each and everyone that he encountered: One by one he probed until he found a common ground and that became the basis for an individualized strong relationship. I was uncany how he brought this about, to all levels of humankind.
I have known Bill for many years, professionally, in Dearborn, in Europe and in retirement years. It is easy to describe his expertise and panache (there is no more descriptive word for Bill) in the product, marketing and advertising world. Indeed – his attributes served him well in these important roles, but this inner strength and confident character extended to everying he did in life.
It is a personal loss for us, as we are priviledged to have experienced the AMAZING BILL BENTON for so many years. To the Benton family: your legacy is very firmly in place; the memory and foundation at your doorstep is just as strong as anyone ever had!

Billie and Lee Miskowski

32 Sheri Donaldson 02.23.09 at 8:48 am

Roxanne, Shane and family–I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Roxanne, I only knew your dad from seeing him on Beach Walks, but just from that I can tell how much he will be missed by everyone he touched.
Take care,
Sheri in Illinois

33 Linda Silverstein 02.23.09 at 9:56 am

Thank you for sharing the beach walk video. It perfectly captured Bill’s spirit and energy. I am better for having spent time with him. He was a leader and a motivator until his last day. What a blessing to have such a wonderful father, husband, friend.

My thoughts are with all of you during this difficult time.


34 Roxanne 02.23.09 at 10:46 am

I wanted to drop in and express how happy I am to read all of these wonderful comments – I continue to learn new things about my Dad with each one. And it occurred to me today, that being a Marketing Guy as well as a Car Guy, it is only fitting that his personal brand be defined by those who knew and loved him!

Love, Roxy

35 Gye Sung-Hwan 02.23.09 at 6:10 pm

Rox and family!
My deepest love and condolences to you!
I am sorry to hear that your father passed away, but he will always be in your mind with you. And also we will be.
Take care.

36 Junie Michael 02.24.09 at 3:38 am

All of the Ford Dealers join me in deepest sympathyto you and the members of your family. It was my priviledge to know Bill in his years with Ford and was a recipient of his wisdom and kindness. He was a true car guy!

37 JAN STARR 02.24.09 at 1:24 pm

Dear Benton Family:

I had the extreme pleasure to compete with Bill when he was at Wells Rich and work together with Bill at Ogilvy. He was a great and generous man who improved everything he touched. We will miss him. Our thoughts are with you. Best regards, JAN

38 Doc Rooney 02.25.09 at 1:16 pm

What a wonderful genteel,still with a southern carolinean accent, intelligent and very sensitive comfortable gentleman. Always warmly greeted and listened to by the “Coffee Group”. Truly missed by your many many friends Bill–thanks for a wonderful life!

39 J Ferron 02.26.09 at 9:54 am

May eternal light shine upon Bill and the blessings and optimism that he shared with all of us reflect on to future generations.
Over many years I had reasons to know Bill in several different roles, at Ford, as a member of a few boards of directors I dealt with but mostly as a dear friend whose insight and kindness was impressive. He excelled at all roles but shined as a friend. What talents he perfected being “a friend.” Bill “networked” before that word had today’s digital relevance. He always greeted everyone as if they were the most important people he would see that day. He beamed about family and helped countless men and women move up in their careers. In short, Bill was inspirational. What a wonderful impact he had on thousands of people. For me and Lynn, we will treasure his friendship and continue to love Blanch as the dear friend she is.
God Speed Bill, you traveled well and left a long trail of accomplishments and more importantly, a countless numbers of friends who will miss you deeply even as we expect you to be sharing a few brief thoughts about how heaven can be organized slightly better!

40 Bert Benton 02.27.09 at 7:52 am

Blanche, Barbara, Roxanne, Judy & Nancy, our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families. Roxanne, thank you for this wonderful site. Your Beach Walks are poetic and peaceful! Barbara, thank your for the special time you spent with Dad before he died. We all know this helped bring him comfort. I know Mom always looks forward to and enjoys your visits! As Trish wrote, Dad admired and deeply loved his big brother, Brub. They had a wonderful relationship. I clearly recall how Dad’s voice would pep up when he’d answer the phone and Uncle Brub was on the other end. I hope my sons can be as close as they grow and move on with their lives. We know the pain of losing the physical presence of such a fine man, and while as Trish wrote it’s hard not to be able to pick up the phone and hear that familiar voice, we also know that you won’t have to look far into your hearts to feel his ongoing presence in your lives. Since Dad died, I feel his ongoing presence in my life in many ways. From something as simple as pouring a glass of ice tea or grabbing the pinch-pliers out of my tool chest, (I didn’t learn till the 7th grade that the rest of the world called these Vise-Grips), to the resemblance in my Son’s face, to the guardian angel helping me through difficult times. Cheers to Uncle Brub, what a wonderful life and legacy!

41 Mary Lou Quesnell (Daniels) 02.27.09 at 8:55 am

Thanks for sharing the touching memories of Bill. You have captured the heart and soul of a wonderful man.

On behalf of the Daniels’ Family, we would like to express our condolences to all of you. Each of you hold a special place in our hearts.

May the peace that comes from the memories of love shared, comfort you in the days ahead.


42 Philip Alandt 02.28.09 at 4:38 pm

Dear Blanche:

I feel very fortunate to have known Bill and will always recall many great times and wonderful stories.

Philip Alandt

43 Mike Hudson 03.06.09 at 9:13 am

Blanche & Benton Family-
Deepest sympathies and best wishes from me and the entire Henry Ford Hospital Division of Cardiology. The webpage, photos, video and biography are a wondeful tribute to Bill. I will always remember his optimistic spirit, confidence & trust he placed in me and his other Henry Ford caregivers, and his genuine concern for my family. I assure you he spoke often and appreciatively of his entire family, and that he approached his death with a contentment and peace that was inspiring. It was a privilege being Bill’s cardiologist.

Mike Hudson

44 Cynthia and Edsel Ford 03.09.09 at 5:12 am

Dear Blanche,

It wasn’t so long ago that Bill and I used to have lunch together and talk about the old days. He would tell me “FORD” stories that would make me cry with laughter. Stories about Lee Iacocca and my father. Stories about meetings at our Design Center with Gene Bordinat and later with Jack Telnack. Stories about Gordon MacKenzie. How much he seemed to like working in Europe. Then we would talk about his health and the fact that our youngest son is a Type 1 diabetic.

The lunches flew by. We hardly had time to eat. I’ll miss Bill, Blanche. He is an important legend to our Company. He brought us color and a sense of who we were.

Our prayers are with you and I send my love to you and your family.


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