LOWRY — A quiet and unassuming man with countless talents and abilities, who only recently moved to South Dakota, left this life March 1 and will be sorely missed and cherished always by his loving wife and four children.
Larry Kent Benns was born July 25, 1951 in Denver, Colo., the second son of William H. and Maxine Benns. He won awards in leather crafting and industrial arts in his high school years at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver and early on showed talent in the auto mechanics field, building racing engines as a hobby. After marrying his high school sweetheart Teresa Stanfill in Denver in 1969, he worked as a millwright at a local foundry and later worked for Monaghan Corporation in Littleton, Colo., a manufacturer of medical respirators, as a precision machinist. During a brief stint as a modelmaker he also helped create the prototype for the first artificial kidney in a briefcase. He left the company to serve as a Machinery Repairman second class on the USS Coral Sea (1974 -1975), assisting in the evacuation of Vietnam and participating in the Mayaguez incident. He is a lifetime member of Disabled American Veterans.
Following his service in the Navy, he worked at Sterling Stainless Tube in Englewood, Colo., a hypodermic needle manufacturer, from 1977-1984. In 1984 he was hired as a preventive maintenance technician at Golden Aluminum Recycling (a division of Coors) in Ft. Lupton, Colo. supervising the repair of machinery used to manufacture and recycle aluminum cans. In 1991, he was transferred to the new Golden Aluminum rolling mill in San Antonio, Texas (ACX Technologies) as preventive maintenance supervisor. He later trained to serve as a vibration analyst for the company in the field of predictive maintenance and also was the department’s purchasing agent. He traveled nationally and internationally to keep abreast of the latest technology involving aluminum rolling mills and their furnace systems. He retired from the company in March, 1999.
During his working years, Larry dabbled in woodcarving and jewelry making. He also became a skilled blacksmith, studying under Al Morgan who replicated ironwork for the San Antonio missions and taught him the basics of creating Damascus knives. Following his retirement to La Garita, Colo. he built a solar-powered strawbale home, with the help of family and friends, from the ground up. He later added a garage/shop, undertaking amazing wood projects, handcrafting log furniture and creating Monet-style and other paintings, portraying the idyllic scenery of his native Colorado mountains. He also enjoyed collecting and building classic cars. He sold his Colorado property in 2020 to move to Lowry to be close to his two sons during his final illness.
Larry is survived by his wife of 51 years, Teresa (Terri), of Lowry; son Shane of Selby; son Eathan of La Garita, Colo; son Josiah of Java, daughter Aimee (Russell) Bartlett of San Antonio, Texas and brother Gary (Denise) Benns of Littleton, Colorado. He also leaves behind 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a beloved grandson, Tristen Kent Benns.
Larry will be laid to rest at St. Anthony of Padua Cemetery in Hoven, S.D. at 2 p.m. Monday, March 8. In lieu of flowers, he wishes donations to be made to St. Jude’s Hospital or the Tunnel to Towers organization.