Rev. Richard E. Benner, 88, of Hanover, PA, entered the Good Shepherd’s eternal care Monday, March 28, 2022, at UPMC Hanover Hospital.
Born February 21, 1934, in Catasauqua, PA, he was the son of the late Karl I. and Arlene E. (Griesemer) Benner. Richard was the loving, caring husband of Pauline R. (Ritter) Benner with whom he shared over sixty-three years of marriage until her passing on August 16, 2021.
Richard was a 1952 graduate of Catasauqua High School, Catasauqua, PA, a 1956 graduate of Moravian College, and a 1959 graduate of Lancaster Theological Seminary of the United Church of Christ with a Master of Divinity. As a young man, he held leadership positions in Boy Scouting and Explorer Scouting over the years. His sense of vocation as a Pastor was influenced by participating in the National Youth Caravan Program of the Evangelical and Reformed Church in 1952, serving low-income communities in Saint Louis, Missouri. Rev. Benner was ordained as a Pastor in the United Church of Christ in June of 1959 at Salem UCC in Catasauqua. He served congregations in central and eastern Pennsylvania from 1959-2013, including: St. David’s Charge: David’s UCC and Zion UCC, Millersburg, Heidelberg Charge: Ebenezer UCC, New Tripoli, and Heidelberg UCC, Saegersville, Christ UCC, Bethlehem, St. Paul’s (Wolf’s) UCC, York, Calvary UCC, Barto, and Redeemer’s UCC, Littlestown. In retirement he served as an interim pastor at Christ UCC, Codorus, Trinity UCC, Cashtown, and St. John’s UCC, McKnightstown; and as visitation pastor at Trinity UCC, York, St. Paul’s (Wolf’s) UCC, York, (where he is honored as Pastor Emeritus) and Grace UCC, Hanover.
Rev. Benner was a member of Grace United Church of Christ in Hanover. He served as Chaplain for the Pennsylvania Senate in Harrisburg in June 1981; and served the wider church in leadership positions for the Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ and ecumenical groups in the communities in which he served.
Richard was a WWII enthusiast, especially WWII aviation. A squadron of finely-detailed models of WW II-era airplanes guarded his study and reminded him of where his uncles served. He enjoyed volunteering at church and the Homewood at Plum Creek retirement community for the past 16 years, where he introduced dart baseball to the recreational opportunities. Pauline and he participated in Road Scholar (Elderhostel) a national adult continuing education program, serving the Gettysburg Road Scholar program as on-site coordinators.
Richard enjoyed reading, golf, fishing and travel, especially in retirement. He valued the life-long friendships he maintained from all phases of his life. He was happiest in family gatherings that included as many generations as possible. The best of those was cooking applebutter on a cool autumn day.
He is survived by four sons, Allen (Angelee) of Coatesville, PA, Dale (Donna) of York, PA, Timothy (Debra) of Hampstead, MD, and John (Stacy) of Myersville, MD; eight grandchildren; two great granddaughters (whose names and birthdates he lovingly painted on an antique, wooden diaper box – that passed among the brothers when a baby was born) and a sister, Linda A. Heist (Ronald) of Bethlehem, PA. He was preceded in death by his brother, Donald and a sister, Karlene J. Demarest.
A viewing and time to share memories with the family will be held from 4:00-6:00 PM, Sunday, April 3, 2022, at the Kenworthy Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc., 269 Frederick Street, Hanover, PA. A memorial service to celebrate and remember Rev. Benner will be held 11:00AM, Friday, April 8, 2022, at Wolf’s Covenant Church, 4501 Wolf’s Church Road, York, PA., with Rev. Eric Palmquist officiating. Burial will be in St. Paul’s-Wolf’s Church Cemetery, York, PA. The family encourages masks be worn for visitation and memorial service.
Memorial contributions may be made in Rev. Benner’s name to the Class of 1959 Student Scholarship Fund at Lancaster Theological Seminary, 555 West James Street, Lancaster, PA 17603 or to the Homewood at Plum Creek Benevolent Fund, 425 Westminster Avenue, Hanover, PA 17331.
The Kenworthy Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc., 269 Frederick Street, Hanover, PA has been entrusted by the family with the funeral arrangements. Memories and condolences may be shared at www.kenworthyfh.com.
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