May 10, 1927 – January 1, 2020 – (age 92)
Boyd R. Benson, 92, beloved Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, Uncle, Son and Brother peacefully passed from this life on January 1, 2020, just minutes into his eleventh decade, at 12:18am in Logan, Utah. Boyd was born in Mt. Pleasant, Utah on May 10, 1927. He is the third child of Edwin LeRoy and Aurenita Monsen Benson. Boyd has an older brother, Gordon (deceased 2012), an older sister, Arlene (deceased 2011), and a younger sister, Carol.
Boyd’s family moved to California in 1936 and, when only ten years of age, Boyd began attending church on his own. He often said he received his testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ, at a tender age. Boyd truly kept the faith, consistently attending church, serving a mission and accepting callings throughout the next 82 years of his life. Boyd served in the US Navy from 1945 – 1946. Boyd also played on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Maywood Ward basketball team that won the all Church championship in 1949, and he appeared on the cover of the Church News showing the trophy awarding ceremony.
Boyd’s high school years were all during World War II and at the age of 17 he signed up to take a special mathematics and science test to enlist early. He was an excellent student getting mostly A’s throughout high school, including straight A’s in 11th grade. He did well on the test and enlisted in the Navy just before his 18th birthday in May 1945. Boyd often joked with his family that he ended World War II since, when Hitler found out he was coming, the Nazi forces surrendered the day after he enlisted. Boyd reported for duty after boot camp on August 20, 1945 and the Imperial Japanese Navy also feared him coming and surrendered soon after on September 2, 1945!
Boyd was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946 and began college, attending UCLA, Berkeley and USC. Boyd was at USC for almost 3 years and graduated from USC with a degree in Mathematics in January 1951.
From the time Boyd was 20 years old, despite both financial and wartime barriers, he had a strong desire to serve a mission. One night Boyd had a remarkable spiritual experience in which his Grandpa, Nels Benson, who had served a mission to Sweden in 1892, impressed upon his spirit that he could go if he continued to try. Boyd received this encouragement three times that night and was renewed in his determination to overcome barriers and serve a mission.
Boyd served an honorable mission in the Eastern States Mission from 1951 – 1954. He was in charge of publicity for the Hill Cumorah pageant for the two years he served and even went on TV as part of his publicity work. Part of his assignments during the Pageant was to follow then Apostle Ezra Taft Benson (no relation) and report back daily on Elder Benson’s activities to the Deseret News each evening by telephone.
Boyd met his future eternal companion, BarbaraJean Dittmore, while serving his mission. BarbaraJean’s parents, Marlin and Barbara Wallace Dittmore, were leaders in the local branch and their home was the social center of the branch. BarbaraJean was away at Brigham Young University for much of the time during which they corresponded frequently. Boyd travelled to Utah after his mission to court BarbaraJean, after which BarbaraJean came to California to work. It was that summer when they got engaged! Boyd married his sweetheart in the Salt Lake Temple on August 23, 1954. That same day Boyd’s parents were sealed together and Boyd was sealed to his parents. The influence of Boyd’s strong testimony, before and during his mission, had reactivated his parents.
Boyd earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Mathematics and Teaching from USC. He taught in the public school system in the Los Angeles area for several years and also worked as a Senior Engineer for the Apollo Space program. He personally met 4 of the 7 original US astronauts. Boyd entered the workforce full-time in the Fall of 1954 and worked continuously for 61 years, nearly 58 years as a teacher and 3 and a half years in the Apollo Space program. The last 49 years of his career were at Rio Hondo College in Southern California. Boyd loved teaching Math, especially Calculus and Differential equations. He was sad when, at age 88, he went to the front office of the College to report that, after 6 decades of devoted teaching, he was retiring.
Boyd became active in scouting in 1971 when his oldest son became a Cub Scout and worked with great enthusiasm in the Boy Scout organization as a volunteer Committee Chairman, Scoutmaster (3 times), and in many other capacities. He earned the highest honor a leader can earn in the Scout Council, the Silver Beaver award in 1988, receiving his award from Tom Flores, then coach of the Los Angeles Raiders in a nice ceremony along with BarbaraJean at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. Boyd’s 3 sons, along with 13 grandsons, all earned their Eagle Scout award, the highest rank in scouting.
Boyd was a very devoted family man, taking the entire family on many wonderful vacations, usually to Utah to visit Aunt Suzie and her family and also stay at the Magleby’s cabin in Sundance. One of his mission converts was Mitty Magleby, whose husband Frank was an art professor at BYU and had a cabin at Sundance. The family has fond memories of the many trips to Utah visiting the Sand Dunes, Theater in the Pines, Cascade Springs, Timpanogos Caves, and the Murdock Canal. The family also went on several family campouts to Carlsbad beach, Puddingstone reservoir, Medicine Bow National Forest in Northern Colorado, and also camping and fishing in Logan Canyon, as well as visiting Crater Lake in Oregon, and the Redwoods in California. Boyd was a home movie enthusiast and took many movies with his Super 8 mm camera, often showing the movies during Family Home Evenings.
Boyd and his sons (and friends who wanted to go) backpacked and hiked many miles in several Western states which included California (High Sierras, Mt. Whitney, Mt. Langley, Mt. Agassiz, Southern California peaks such as Mt. Williamson, Mt. Baden-Powell, Mt. San Gorgonio, Mt. San Jacinto), Utah (Mt. Timpanogos, Kings Peak, Squaw Peak, Mt. Nebo, Lake Peak), Wyoming (Static Peak in the Tetons, Wind River Peak in the Wind River range, Cirque of the Towers), Colorado (Mt. Harvard), and Idaho. Boyd and his sons have many happy memories of these trips. Boyd climbed Mt. Whitney (14,495 ft., the highest in the continental United States) 3 times, including when he was 74 years old, another 14,000 ft peak in the High Sierras at age 76, and climbed Mt. Timpanogos at age 80 while on a hike with 3 generations present.
Boyd served in many church callings. At a young age, he was the Seminary Coordinator in the Los Angeles Area. He also taught early morning seminary. He was a Stake Executive Secretary, and served on the High Council for 16 years, then served in several Bishoprics as a counselor. He served as a Bishop of Downey 2nd Ward from December 31, 1989 until April of 1995. He also served as Scoutmaster several times, Young Men President and Scout Committee Chair several times. While in the hospital after suffering a stroke, he spoke of Scout Committee meetings he was missing, and we reassured him it was okay. Many boys in California, South Dakota, Florida, and Utah gratefully acknowledge the support of Boyd Benson in obtaining their Eagle Scout ranks.
Boyd published 2 books during his life: “He Kept the Faith, Nels Benson, A Family History” a 500 page Family History book of Nels Benson (Boyd’s Grandpa) and his descendants, and “Boyd’s Book of Health” wherein he shares his formula for a healthy life including nutrition, spiritual nutrition, exercise and positive thinking. His positive outlook has inspired many to accomplish great things in this life and to remain faithful to Heavenly Father.
Boyd’s favorite scripture is found in Matthew 16:13 – 17
13 ¶ When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Boyd often quoted this scripture when sharing his testimony and stating he received a similar witness of the Savior at a tender age. He was a schoolchild, age 10, in the schoolyard and staring at a unique church building across the street (the first Stake Center built outside the Intermountain region in 1927, the Los Angeles Stake Center) and asked his friend, “What is that building?” The friend replied, “That’s the Mormon Church.” Young Boyd said to himself, “I am a Mormon, and starting this Sunday I will go to church for the rest of my life.” Boyd Benson fulfilled that commitment for the next 82 years and has now faithfully completed his mission here on earth.
Boyd is survived by his wife BarbaraJean, and seven children: Anne Rodriguez (Ariel), Laura Ready (Mel, deceased in 2009), Margie Larcom (Larry), Sharon White (Nolan), Marlin Benson (Dawni), Edwin Benson (Amy), and Brian Benson (Heather). Boyd and BarbaraJean have 46 grandchildren (2 of which are deceased) and 16 great-grandchildren.
Boyd’s funeral will be held on Saturday, January 11, 2020 at 12:00pm at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mendon 4th Ward building, 20 North 100 West in Mendon, Utah, with a viewing prior from 10:30 – 11:30am. A viewing will also be held at the church on Friday, January 10, 2020 from 6:00 – 8:00pm. Boyd will be buried at the Mendon City Cemetery.
Condolences and memories may be shared with the family at allenmortuaries.net