20202021ObituariesCecil Earle Benton

March 9, 2021by SealeUser9

July 31, 1923 ~ March 9, 2021

Cecil Earle Benton, a longtime community and business leader in Denham Springs, passed away peacefully March 9, 2021 at his home at LaPlantation Retirement Community in Denham Springs.  He was 97.  Born on July 31, 1923 to Leslie Newell and Sammie Brecheen Benton, the fourth child of six, he was a native of Denham Springs and lived on family property from many generations past.  He graduated from Denham Springs High School as valedictorian of the Class of 1940 and then pursued a college degree at Southeastern Louisiana College in Hammond where he obtained a BA degree in 1946 with a major in mathematics and minor in Social Science.  His college studies were interrupted by WWll when he enlisted and served in the Army Air Corp which later became the US Air Force.   His three older brothers were also in the Army Air Corp and wished to follow in their footsteps.  After completion of advanced aviation training, he was promoted to 2nd Lt. and served as navigator on a B-29.  After the war, he married his college sweetheart, “Nook” Bencaz, in July 1946 and joined his dad and brother in the family business later becoming the manager then owner of Benton Bros Furniture now called Benton Bros Antiques Mall.  His life was devoted to his family and service to his church and community.  Earle grew up singing with his family plus singing four-part harmony with his older brothers.  He continued sharing that gift with First Baptist Church of Denham Springs where he started singing in the choir at the age of 12.   As an adult, he sang for many events, weddings, and funerals with his smooth and effortless voice.  He started teaching Sunday School when in his twenties and was still teaching every week until the flood of 2016 when he was 93.  When Denham Springs became a city in 1957 he ran to be on the first Board of Aldermen and won.  He then served for two four year terms, 1958-62 and 1962-66.  He helped organize and was a charter member of Denham Springs Kiwanis in 1954 and was the President in 1958.  As an active member of Kiwanis, he was involved in securing an invitation extended to the Denham Springs Boys Choir under the direction of Regina Walker to sing for the Kiwanis International Convention held in Atlantic City, NJ during the summer of 1963. He remained a faithful member of Kiwanis well into his 90s.   Earle’s love of and commitment to the business community of Denham Springs led him to become the President of the Denham Springs Chamber of Commerce in 1955.  Beginning in the 1950s, Earle and many longtime community business leaders, Pastors, and other friends met every weekday morning at 9 a.m. at a local bank for coffee, friendship, and to solve the world’s problems one day at a time.  His active commitment to business, schools, churches, and the arts continued through the decades.  Until the flood of 2016 he could be found at his downtown business on most days where he enjoyed greeting customers and talking about the early days of Denham Springs.


He is survived by son:  John Benton, Sr. (Madelyn), daughter:  Emily “Cissy” Benton Grantham (Glynn); 7 grandchildren:  Kathy Benton Harris, Emily Benton Barclay (Adam), Brian Waldrep (Jeanell), John Benton, Jr. (Johanna), Will Benton (Kellie), David Waldrep (Kellen), Michael Benton; 14 great grandchildren; sister in law:  Bettye Sandifer Benton; and numerous nieces and nephews and cousins.  Preceded in death by his wife: Henrietta “Nook” Bencaz Benton; brothers: Leslie “Les” Benton, Jr., Milton “Mit” Benton, Carey Benton, William “Bill” Benton and sister: Grace Benton Fremstad.

A special thank you to the loving staff of LaPlantation, Dr. Ted Kemp, and to his excellent caregiver, John Brady.   Visitation will be held at First Baptist Church, Denham Springs, Saturday, March 13, 2021 11 am – 1 pm with the service following at 1 pm. Burial will be in Evergreen Memorial Park. Pallbearers will be Grandsons: Brian Waldrep, John Benton, Jr., Will Benton, David Waldrep, Michael Benton, Adam Barclay.

If you wish to make a memorial donation please consider First Baptist Church of  Denham Springs. Please sign the online guestbook at www.sealefuneral.com




  • Carol Covington

    March 14, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    I worked with Mr. Earle for many years such a great teacher new a little about anything you talked about. Keep me up on the longest day ,shortest day. Change of time all sort of interesting things to do with every day life. Now he is with our Lord still working word puzzles everyday.My thoughts and prayers to the Benton Family
    Cub and Carol Covington


  • Pamela Kimble

    March 13, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    Always enjoyed talking with Mr. Benton & hearing his stories! He will be missed by many! Prayers for the Benton family!


  • Shirley Carlisle

    March 13, 2021 at 2:03 pm

    A great legacy to leave with many fond memories. A true friend for many years. I recall 55 years ago when Coach and I moved to Denham Springs he was one of the first people to share his love of Denham Springs and assured us we would feel the same in the years to come. He was right….we were welcomed with open arms and have felt the love of the people here for many years.


  • Mike and Ruth Russell

    March 13, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    Mike and I are so sorry to hear of Mr. Earl’s passing and will keep all of the family in our prayers.


  • Melba Felder Heumann

    March 12, 2021 at 6:27 pm

    Johnnie (you’ll always be Johnnie to me) and Madelyn and the rest of the Benton family – The Felder family and spouses’ prayers go out to all of you. Each of you were extremely blessed to have had him in your lives for so long. Heaven’s choir just added another tenor. I’m sure Don Felder has greeted Mr. Earle and they are singing away. He will always be missed by all of us who grew up knowing him and those who moved to D.S. later. Again, our prayers and all our love to the Benton family.
    Mary, Melba and Alan, David and Sue


  • Lynne Graner

    March 12, 2021 at 11:12 am

    Denham Springs has lost an icon in Earle’s passing, I knew him and the rest of of the Benton family all my life and always enjoyed his conversations, especially of the olden days. I, too, loved hearing him singing O Holy Night each Christmas at FB Church, like no one else could do, where he was a pillar of the Church. My heartfelt sympathy to John, Cissy and the rest of his family. He was the last of the Benton family and had a wealth of information he gladly shared. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this difficult time. Well done thy good and faithful servant. RIP, my friend.


  • Tamra Brown Blum

    March 11, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    Mr. Earle was a great man and a wonderful friend to our family. He will be greatly missed. Our love and prayers are with all of the family. God has received a very special angel.


  • David Bencaz

    March 11, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    One of my fondest memories of Uncle Earle is him singing O Holy Night every year at our Bencaz Family Christmas parties.


  • John Minton

    March 11, 2021 at 3:13 am

    Mr. Earle was a Great man and I was also in the Kiwanis with him when he would visit. I remember Johnny bringing him in to the meetings.
    He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.
    Your friend, John Minton


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