Educator, former City Councilman Jack Benson Sr. dies at 85 - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Educator, former City Councilman Jack Benson Sr. dies at 85

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Jack Benson Sr. Jack Benson Sr.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - A man who educated and represented thousands of Chattanoogans has died.  Jack Benson Sr. passed away Thursday night after a brief illness.  He was 85.  Former Mayor Ron Littlefield, who served in city government with Benson, called him "a man with a legacy of helping children, who then helped them again when they were adults. You couldn't go anywhere in Chattanooga without meeting a former student of Jack's, who had become his lifelong friend."

Benson was a longtime educator in the Chattanooga city school system, becoming a principal at the age of 25.  He was principal at East Lake Elementary, and then at Eastside Jr. High School, which for many years was the city's largest junior high school.  He ended his career in education in 1985, retiring as Assistant Superintendent of the city schools.  After retiring, he took on a new challenge, as director of the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters program for fifteen years.  In 2001, he was elected to the Chattanooga City Council, serving three terms until leaving office in April 2013.  He represented District 4, made up mostly of East Brainerd neighborhoods, and treated his part-time position as if it was a full-time job. 

Littlefield said, "I'm really going to miss him.  He had thousands of stories, and a razor-sharp memory.  He was so much fun to be with.  He had thousands of friends, and he helped raise most of them." Sen. Bob Corker, who was Chattanooga's mayor from 2001-05 said, "Jack Benson was truly one of a kind. He cared deeply about our community, his district, public education and most of all, beamed with pride when he talked about his outstanding family. I was honored to serve with him in Chattanooga, and Kay and the children are in my thoughts and prayers."

Funeral services will be held Monday, Jan. 19, at 11 a.m. at St. Peter & Paul Basilica with Father Bertin Glennon officiating.  Burial will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery with full military honors.  Honorary pallbearers will be the former mayors and council members with whom he served.

The family will receive friends on Sunday, Jan. 18, from 2-6 p.m. at the East Brainerd Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home at 8214 East Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, Tn. 37421.

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