Robert Stephen Benton (“Spotty”) passed away with family by his side on May 29, 2018, at his home in Hood River, Ore. He was 66 years of age at the time of his passing.
On March 7, 1952, Charles King Benton Jr. and Frances Yordy Benton celebrated the birth of their fourth baby boy Steve, the younger brother of Terry, John and Paul. When he was almost 5-years-old, his sister, Cathy, was born. Steve told his mom he was packing his bags and going to work with his dad. He enjoyed working with his dad in the shop for many years.
He graduated from Wy’east High School and then attended Oregon State University for two of the three semesters a year so he was able to help his father with the farm and not miss a harvest. For this reason, Steve graduated in six years versus the traditional four years with a B.S. in business.
In 1976, he started farming on his own, farming the same ground his grandfather had farmed.
Steve met the love of his life, Mary Sue Marshall, at the wedding of good friends Chuck and Vicky Reed in December 1977. They were married the following year between cherry and pear harvests on July 15, 1978.
They moved to their home on Riverdale Road, where shortly afterwards, they brought three children into the world: Bob, Amanda and Susie.
An engineer at heart, Steve was not afraid to do things his own way. He bought a full sized Hood River County School bus and turned it into their Partridge Family style motor-home, which made vacations with friends and family just a little more memorable. Steve was always looking for a new challenge or adventure. In 1996, he purchased and developed property in Arizona; in 2003, he built a cold storage and packing house and dabbled in champagne production; in 2007, he followed an ancestral based interest in banking, co-founding and chairing the board of CenterPointe Community Bank. Steve was very involved and held several board positions on multiple boards of directors within the community, including West Side Fire Department, Farmers Irrigation and Columbia Gorge Fruit Growers, to name a few.
In June 2010, he was diagnosed with a malignant glioblastoma brain tumor and given 6-18 months to live. His children took over the family farm and Steve focused on fighting his cancer. He participated in many clinical trials over the years in the hopes of finding a cure. During this entire time, he also married off both daughters and grandfathered five children.
He proved the depth of his tenacious and driven spirit over the past eight years, which was never doubted by those closest to him.
He enjoyed coffee with the boys at Windmaster Market, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, flying his Super Cub, golf, travels to Mexico, sailboat trips to the Caribbean, his grandkids, working on old Corvettes, Jeeps and Model Ts, a good debate and a killer deal.
Steve is survived by his wife, Mary Sue Benton, children Bob (Talia) Benton, Amanda (Dustin) Kaats and Susie (Brien) Gibson, grandchildren Blake Benton, Ella Kaats, Ryder Kaats, Barrett Gibson and Alex Gibson, brothers Terry Benton, John Benton and Paul Benton, sister Cathy Hamada, other distant family members and many, many friends he has collected over the years.
Services are planned for 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13 at the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn Gorge Room, 1198 E. Marina Drive, Hood River.
Memorials are encouraged in lieu of flowers to West Side Fire Department, Providence Hospice of the Gorge or National Brain Tumor Society and can be sent care of Anderson’s Tribute Center.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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