Delbert Benson

Delbert Lee Benson, 79, who owned and published the Preston County Journal from 1967-1992, passed away Nov. 16, 2021, in Bradenton, Fla.

He was born on a blustery Feb. 23, 1942, in the Kercheval Memorial Clinic in Kingwood, the son of the late Edith Stephenson Benson and Robert Benson, of Bruceton Mills.

He graduated from Bruceton High School in 1960 and attended West Virginia University before enlisting in the army. Soon after, he was sent to Korea, where he served near the 38th parallel.

When he returned to the United States, he was assigned to the Old Guard, the Army’s official ceremonial unit and escort to the president. He fired one of the synchronized cannons that welcomes foreign visitors and provides a final salute at funerals. He was involved in events during the funeral of John F. Kennedy and was given a shell casing from one of the rounds he fired.

He and the former Linda Miller were married on Sept. 5, 1964. When they were 25, they purchased the newspaper, which was printed on a flatbed press every Thursday. By the time they sold the publication, they had moved into the digital age, had bought the Preston County News, which they continued to publish and introduced the Penny Saver that was mailed to every home in the county.

The newspaper won many state and national honors. Delbert won a National Newspaper photography award for pictures he took during the 1986 flood.

He was very active in the West Virginia Newspaper Association and served as its president.

When he retired, he and Linda moved to Bradenton, Fla., where he joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars and its honor guard, which provides memorial services for veterans.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Lesley Benson and husband Paul Smith, of Lexington, Mass., and Mary Todd and husband Mark Benjamin Todd of Bradenton, Fla.; four grandchildren, Madison and Ben Smith and Zachary and Maggie Todd; one sister, Janice Christopher and husband Wendell; and one brother, Dean and wife Suzann. He is also survived by in-laws, Mary Rae Benson, Joe and Connie Miller and Marilyn and Ken Ferris, along with many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by one sister, Mary, and two brothers, Kenneth and Stephen.
Memorial services will be scheduled in the future.