Note: The following is an expanded version of a memorial published in the Nov. 16, 2011, issue of PAW.
W. Todd Benson of Huntly, Va., Aug. 30, 2011, at the Blue Ridge Hospice Residential Center in Winchester, Va. He was 58.
Todd was born April 11, 1953, in Dover, N.J., the son of Willard R. and Helene Antonia Kraus Benson. He was a brilliant, passionate, funny, clever man. Todd graduated from Dover High School in 1971. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Princeton and a law degree from T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond. He was an adjunct professor at Lord Fairfax Community College, Virginia Commonwealth University, and T.C. Williams School of Law.
Todd worked for Piedmont Environmental Council as Fauquier County field officer and land-use attorney. He was a municipal attorney for Rockbridge County, the Town of Front Royal, and Henrico County, as well as assistant zoning administrator for Fauquier County. He was a member of the Fauquier Business Advisory Committee and established the Fauquier County Sesquicentennial Committee. He also served as chairman and vice chairman of the environmental section of the Virginia State Bar.
Todd idolized President Theodore Roosevelt and wrote a book about Roosevelt’s conservation legacy; they were both politically conservative and passionate conservationists. Even their resemblance was uncanny!
Todd was an exceptional runner and was two-time New Jersey state champion in the mile run in high school. As a teenager, Todd earned the rank of Eagle Scout and upheld the teachings of scouting throughout his life. At Princeton he ran track and was a member of the Tower Club.
Todd had a great love and appreciation for the outdoors. He enjoyed spending his time working on his small farm, and hiking and canoeing with his family. He passionately shared his love with others, leading numerous law students on environmental camping trips and organizing many river cleanups over the years. Any guest to Todd’s home would receive a tour through its beautiful gardens learning about each vegetable, fruit, and flower. Todd spent his final summer at home surrounded by family and friends, making frequent trips through the gardens and living life to the fullest.
Along with his parents, Todd is survived by his wife, Tami L. Benson; their children, Edward Benson his wife, Grace, and Alex Benson and Amber Mitchell; and their miniature dachshunds, Ellie and Gidget. He also leaves two brothers, Richard Benson and his wife, Leslie, and their children Stephanie, James, and Kenneth; and Eric Benson, his wife Lisa, and their children, Corey and Emily and her husband, Will Martin. He leaves a large extended family, including Tami’s mother and father, Dicey and Buddy Beverage; sister Kym and her husband, Dave Crump, and their children Joshua, Alyssa, Tyler, Evan, Reece, and Tessa. He left a special mark on the hearts of his nieces and nephews and they will always cherish his stories, humor, and zeal for living life in the moment.
Todd greatly respected the important work being done by Piedmont Environmental Council, and donations in his memory can be made to the organization at P.O. Box 460, Warrenton, VA 20166. He also valued the incredible and compassionate care provided by Blue Ridge Hospice. Donations in his memory can be sent to the hospice at 333 West Cork St., Winchester, VA 22601.