John Edward Benham, age 97, passed away on Thursday, April 14, 2022, at the Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Massachusetts. Born in Boston, Massachusetts on December 8, 1924, he was the son of the late William D. and Anna T. (Burke) Benham. He was raised in the Dorchester area of Boston, where he attended Dorchester High School. As World War II began to escalate, John was able to obtain his high school diploma a couple of months early in order to help with the war effort. He enlisted in the United States Army in April of 1943, and was stationed with the 143rd Infantry Regiment, deploying to North Africa. After being called into Italy, John took part in the Battle of Casino, where he received a Purple Heart as a result of injuries sustained at the Rapido River. John returned stateside to heal, and was honorably discharged in June of 1944 at the rank of Private First Class, having earned the Bronze Star.
Upon his return home to Dorchester, John worked several jobs, including taking a position with the United States Postal Service, before utilizing the G.I. Bill to attend Boston College. After earning his bachelor of science in business administration degree, John took a position with the Boston Public School Department, working as a fourth, fifth and sixth grade teacher in several schools across the city for 14 years. While working full-time, he returned to his own education, taking night courses at Boston State College, earning a master’s of education degree.
John married his beloved wife, Louise T. McManus, on August 2, 1958, in Saint Joseph's Church, in her hometown of Medford. The couple initially made their home in Brookline, before settling in West Roxbury in December of 1963. As John's family began to grow, welcoming his four children, his career with the school system grew as well. In July of 1970, John moved his family out of the city, making their new home in the quiet suburban town of Walpole, Massachusetts. The change in location did not change John's dedication to his students, as he continued making the commute into Boston for many years, and spent many of his summers working as a Counselor of Youth and District Supervisor at Boston Parks in several areas of Boston for Action for Boston Community Development. He applied for the position of School Adjustment Counselor, which he earned in 1979. John was tasked with helping troubled students in both the classroom and at home, providing assistance for a number of schools in the city. Also, John became a qualified and certified School Psychologist, as part of this role. In addition to his full-time position working with the children of Boston, John returned to the Postal Service, working the night shift on occasion, ensuring his family had everything they needed. Also, he taught citizenship training classes for new citizens for 4 years at South Boston High School. In March of 2000, John officially retired from the City of Boston, after 48 years of service to the schools.
When he wasn't hard at work, John loved traveling throughout the United States with his family. As a young father, he took his family on many vacations starting with tent camping, then using a VW camper van and ultimately purchasing a camping trailer, which led to many memorable trips. John looked forward to hitting the open road, using a map as his guide, to visit countless destinations across America, including Washington, D.C., Fort Sumpter, SC, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, PA, Williamsburg, VA, St. Augustine, FL, the Kennedy Space Center and Walt Disney World the year it opened. Back at home in Massachusetts, John regularly took his family to Cape Cod, visiting many beaches and towns including West Dennis Beach and Hyannis, as well as making regular day trips in and around the City of Boston. John enjoyed walking, especially by the water at Castle Island and at a number of towns along Cape Cod, taking in the natural beauty of the ocean. Once his children were grown, John and his wife, Louise, spent most weekends on the Cape, visiting the various communities and their favorite restaurants.
Throughout his life, John had a thirst for knowledge, which he quenched by reading hundreds of books covering a wide range of subjects from history to philosophy. He proudly passed his love for reading on to his children, instilling in them the value of learning. John also enjoyed keeping up with current events, reading two or three newspapers daily and staying informed of what was happening from a global to local level.
Beloved husband of the late Louise T. (McManus) Benham.
Loving father of Stephen M. Benham and his wife, Renate, of Princeton, New Jersey, Susan M. Benham of Walpole, Michael J. Benham and his wife, Ann Corelia "Corie," of Springfield, Pennsylvania, and Karen L. Garrity and her husband, Peter, of Wrentham.
Cherished grandfather of David, Meghan, Peter, Katie, Sean, and Samantha.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend John's Mass of Christian Burial that will be celebrated on Saturday, April 23, 2022 at 10:30 AM in Blessed Sacrament Church, 10 Diamond Street, Walpole. Interment will follow in Saint Francis Cemetery in Walpole accompanied by a military honor guard.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the American Heart Association, 300 5th Avenue, Waltham, MA 02451.