Robert Benson ’53

Robert “Bob” Norman Benson, 89, of Bella Vista, Ark., passed away on December 19, 2021, at Legacy Circle of Life Hospice. He was born October 10, 1932, in New York City, N.Y., to Robert Austen Benson and Clara Thomas Benson.
He graduated from the New York School of Music and Art in 1949 and Hope College, Holland, Mich., in 1953 with a BA in Music. He was immediately drafted into the Army and served at Fort Dix. While there he performed with the Soldiers Chorus. He received a MA in music from Indiana State University at Terre Haute in 1957 and completed some doctoral work at Indiana University. He was a candidate for Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Miami in 1973.
Bob taught junior and high school music in Indiana for seven years. In 1964 he became a professor of music at Miami-Dade Community College. He taught humanities, music appreciation, music history, theory, choral music, voice and directed the college choir. While there, he also directed student operas and was chorus master with the Miami Philharmonic for several concerts. While in Miami, he joined the Miamians Barbershop Chorus. Bob was also a bass soloist for oratorios and lead actor in a few musicals. He retired in 1994. He was loved by his students and respected by his colleagues.
Bob married his first wife, Mary Alice Hughes, in 1957. They had one son, Robert Edward Benson. They divorced in 1980. His loving partner and second wife of over 40 years is Sally Ream Benson. Bob and Sally moved to Bella Vista in 1995 where he sang with the Bella Vista Men’s Chorus. Besides arranging music for choruses, Bob liked carpentry, camping, canoeing and any boat or train ride he could get on.
He was predeceased by his parents and a sister, Marlene Benson.
Bob is survived by his wife, Sally; son, Robert E. Benson (Dale) of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; grandson, Steven T. Benson of Fort Lauderdale; sister, Elsie Haller of Cranberry Lake, New Jersey; brother, George Benson; and numerous nieces and nephews.
No local service is planned by his wishes. His ashes will be scattered over Cranberry Lake in New Jersey at a later date.
Memorials may be made to the Bella Vista Men’s Chorus, 73 Cullen Hills Dr., Bella Vista, Ark., 72715 or to the Norma Baughman Scholarship at Hope College -Development, PO Box 9000, Holland, Mich., 49422-9000.
Arrangements are under the direction of Bella Vista Funeral Home & Crematory. On-line condolences may be made at
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