NEIL LEGLER BENSON
Neil Benson, passed away peacefully on May 12, 2022 at the age of 97. Neil was born September 28, 1924 in Gibbon, Nebraska to George Wallace Legler and Sue Todd Legler. After her father passed from tuberculosis, the family moved to Leavenworth where Neil graduated from high school. Neil and her sister, Martha, then attended The St. Mary College in Leavenworth, where they each worked respectively to put the other through school. Neil then went on to the University of Kansas where she was a member of the Chi Omega Sorority and a Phi Beta Kappa. Upon graduating with a degree in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, she became a lab technician. She met her husband, Page Benson, while Page was stationed at Fort Leavenworth during WWII. Page and Neil were married on June 28th, 1947 in Leavenworth. Shortly thereafter, the newly-weds moved to El Dorado where she resided for the rest of her life.
Neil was one of the founders and a subsequent board member of the Association for Retarded Children, which through merger and/or association was renamed The Arc of Butler County, and later became affiliated with the Flint Hills Services. Neil led the local cause for education for handicapped children and was instrumental in creating a state organization of the Arc. Neil served as a volunteer teacher in the early years of the organization. In addition to her years of service to the handicapped, Neil also gave much time to the Bluestem Chapter of the American Red Cross. She was active in Girl Scouts, first as a leader, then as one of the original field directors of the Four Winds Council. She was a licensed Ham Radio operator, a writer for the Butler County News, and later, worked as a para-professional in special education classrooms. Neil and Page delivered Meals on Wheels together for many years, and after Pages’ death, Neil continued delivering meals into her 90’s. For the duration of her life in El Dorado, Neil was active in El Dorado’s Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Women, and was a “Golden Girl” (50+year) member of P.E.O., Chapter IS. Neil was a Sr. Ambassador of the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce. One of Neil’s most prized positions was being Camp Director\Host at “Camp Rt 4” which included tents, campfires, turtle hunts and races, “safari rides” and much more, all of which was thoroughly enjoyed by her children and grandchildren. Neil was an avid Jayhawker and even received birthday wishes from Bill Self, the coach of this year’s national basketball champions.
In addition to her parents, Neil is preceded in death by her sister, Martha, her husband, Page, and her son, Dirk. Neil is survived by her son, Matthew L. Benson (who lives in Houston TX with his wife Sarah), and Neil’s daughters, Jill Robinson (who lives in Silverdale, WA with her husband Greg), and Erin Hoffman (who lives in Canon City, CO with her husband Larry). She is also survived by her grandchildren, Hollie Benson Breeden (John), Erin Benson Purcell (Andrew); Nick and Kris Robinson; and Tanner Hoffman (Micah), Emily Hoffman (Kieran Bateman), and Hannah Hoffman. A large number of nieces and nephews and great (and great-great) nieces and nephews also survive Neil.
Neil influenced and touched the lives and hearts of everyone she met who then carried that love to the four corners of the world. In order to give sufficient time to those scattered across the world to be able to plan for, attend, and participate in Neil’s Celebration of Life (Neil Benson Day), a service has been scheduled to occur at 11:00 AM on July 29, 2022 at the Presbyterian Church in El Dorado, KS, immediately followed by a gathering at Neil’s home at 3850 N. Main in El Dorado, KS 67042 where refreshments will be served. In lieu of flowers, say a prayer for Neil and love your neighbors. Any donations in Neil’s name may be sent to The Arc of Butler County at 505 S. Walnut Valley Drive, El Dorado, KS 67042 and condolence cards may be sent to Neil’s home which is being attended by Neil’s children.
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A Memorial Tree was planted for Neil