William Benson

(Arthur) William (Bill) Benson, age 86, of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, died Sunday, December 30, 2018.

Bill was a man of enduring curiosity. He dedicated his life to learning and sharing that passion with those who had the privilege to know him.

Bill was born to Arthur and Altha (Phillips) Benson on January 6, 1932, in Toledo, Ohio. A 1949 graduate of Edward Drummond Libbey High School in Toledo, Bill continued his education at the University of Toledo, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in 1953.

After his first year of teaching at Woodworth School, Dearborn, Michigan, he served in the U.S. Army-Pacific Adjutant Corp, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Upon his honorable discharge from service, he resumed his teaching position, and enrolled in the Graduate School at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, where he received the Master’s of Education in Art in 1959. That fall, he enrolled in the graduate program at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, to pursue a Master’s of Fine Arts degree.

He met his future wife, Amy Jensen, in Iowa City, where they were married on August 13, 1961. He received his M.F.A. Degree from the University of Iowa in 1962. Bill’s career in higher education began at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh, where he served as the first campus gallery director, from 1962-64. From 1964-1968, he joined the faculty at Valparaiso University (Indiana) where he established programs in both printmaking and art education. In 1968, Bill began his thirty-year fine arts teaching career at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He served as department chair of Art and Design during the construction of the Haas Fine Arts Center. His roles at UWEC (1968-1998) spanned printmaking, design and art education courses.

Bill served on numerous campus, civic, educational and religious committees, councils and boards. His volunteerism extended over a half-century. He served eight years as board member and two years as president of the Wisconsin Art Education Association. He retired as professor emeritus from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1998. During his lifetime, he explored a variety of art forms in printmaking and painting. His artwork is represented in many public and private collections.

Bill studied in Mexico and Europe and later he and Amy enjoyed decades of domestic and global travel. Together, they ventured to five continents and most of the United States.

Bill is survived by Amy (Jensen), his wife of 57 years; his two children, Drew (Tiffany) Benson of Fort Worth, Texas, and Johanna (Robert) Peterson of Eau Claire; his four grandsons Evan Peterson of Eau Claire and Daniel, Matthew and Nathan Benson of Fort Worth; two sisters; Ruth (Eric) Rauch and Ann Wolff, both of Clearwater, Florida; nieces and nephews, in-laws, friends, dear neighbors and colleagues.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Altha L (Phillips) and Arthur William Sr., infant son, Derek; and sister, Laura Aukerman.

In lieu of flowers, Bill’s family requests memorials be directed to the UWEC Foundation, Room 214, Schofield Hall, 105 Garfield Ave., Eau Claire, WI 54701, to Grace Lutheran Church (ELCA), PO Box 965, Eau Claire, WI 54702, the University of Iowa Foundation, PO Box 4550, Iowa City, IA {span}52244,{/span} or a selected charity of donor’s choice.

A visitation will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 5, 2019, at Grace Lutheran Church, 202 W. Grand Ave, Eau Claire. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 6, 2019, at Grace Lutheran Church, 202 W. Grand Ave., with Pastor Dean Simpson officiating. There will be no visitation before the service on Sunday.

Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701, is assisting the family with the arrangements. Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com.

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