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James Benson

James Allen Benson

Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
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Obituary

James Allen Benson, 81, passed away on April 1, 2020.
Dr. Benson was born on April 27, 1938, in River Falls, WI, to the late Carl Edwin Benson and Helen Elizabeth (Hawkins) Benson and grew up in New Richmond, WI.
He earned a Bachelor's degree from Wisconsin State College, Eau Claire as well as a Master’s Degree and a Doctorate in Organizational Communications from Purdue University.
In 1962, he accepted the position of Director of Forensics at Wisconsin State College-Superior where he resurrected a dormant debate program, and turned it into one of the best in the state; sponsored a chapter of the Pi Delta Kappa national collegiate forensic honorary; and received an Outstanding Teacher award from the Central States Speech Association.
In 1968, Dr. Benson became the Director of Forensics at Ball State University, Muncie, IN. In 1972, Ball State won the National Speech and Debate Championship and he was named National Coach of the Year in Forensics. During his tenure, his teams placed in the top 10 nationally every year. He also was selected to teach graduate programs in Germany at Ramstein Air Base and Rhein Main Air Base.
In 1986, Dr. Benson accepted a professorship at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh where he chaired the department for three years. When he was chosen as one of the University’s Outstanding Teachers, the University Chancellor said “Dr. Benson is considered a master teacher by his colleagues and a skilled and valued mentor by his students.”
In 2000, he retired in Oshkosh, WI. In his 33 years in collegiate education, Dr. Benson demonstrated that a good teacher must be an effective motivator. Due to his efforts, many of his former students became successful university professors, lawyers, and professional communicators.
When Dr. Benson was not dedicating himself to his love of scholarship, he enjoyed spending time with family and traveling throughout the world.
Dr. Benson was preceded in death by his father, Edwin C. Benson; mother, Helen Elizabeth Benson; stepfather, Gordon Wears; stepbrother, Gordon Wears Jr.; and sisters Barbara Bateman and Marie Belisle.
He is survived by a brother, Jerry (Ana), a sister Jane (Greg) Wypiszynski, and nieces Sandi Reed, Kym Dunleap, and Dr. Crista Warniment; nephews Don Majewski, Steve Belisle, Scott Belisle, Mark Belisle, and Adrian Benson; as well as numerous cousins.
In accordance with the current coronavirus guidelines, a memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a memorial donation to the National Kidney Foundation at https://www.kidneyfund.org/.
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UW Oshkosh Department of Communication

Posted at 04:37pm
Please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for your loss. We honor Dr. Benson's service to the students and instructors at UW Oshkosh.
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