Born: June 16, 1913
Died: April 2, 1968
Married: Iris Hullinger
Children: Barbara, Betty Ann
Willard Benware was a World War II veteran. He was a son of Alfred and Leila Anderson Benware.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, April 2, 1968
Willard Benware, of Bloomingdale, died at 11:30 Tuesday evening at Placid Memorial Hospital of injuries received when a tree fell on him while he was working at the Bobsled Run, March 27. He was employed by the New York State Conservation Department.
Mr. Benware had been a baseball player with Army teams and with the semi-professional Brighton Blues and Newton Falls teams. He served with the Army Engineers in World War II and in Japan. He also was a member of the Bloomingdale Fire Department.
Mr. Benware was born June 16, 1913, in Brushton, a son of Alfred and Leila Anderson Benware. He was married on July, 2, 1943 to Iris Hullinger who survives.
Other survivors are his mother, who now lives in Bloomingdale,; two daughters, Barbara and Betty Ann of Albany; two brothers, Alfred of Bloomingdale and Ray of Rockville, Md.; a sister, Mrs. Sarah Califano of Schenectady; and several nieces and nephews.
The following excerpt was written by Barbara Benware Burt about her father Willard Benware.
William Henry Benware
As the eldest surviving child after his father Alfred’s shooting death and brother Anderson’s death from diabetes, my father, Willard Benware, became the father figure for his remaining three siblings, the youngest, Ray, being only a ten-year-old. From my own upbringing, I found him to be an understanding, but worried, protective parent. While we were poor people, Daddy worked hard and provided a warm home, plenty of food, and an abundance of love. He was not a man who liked responsibility, but when faced with it, was more than capable and even creative.
As most girls probably feature their fathers, I always thought of my dad as a John Wayne prototype, tall, strong, handsome, laconic,and never afraid. However, Dan Helms, who had been a player on Daddy’s little league team, recently recalled him as a hero to all the boys in town, a larger than life figure, who taught them not only baseball, good sportsmanship, fair-play, but also good old-fashioned values. (I recall Daddy’s fuming over parents’ wanting their own son to play more time and his strictly adhering to a policy of everyone’s having equal play time regardless of skill level - winning, while desired, did not take precedence over fairness and opportunity for each child to participate and learn.)
Daddy was, among his crowd, a raconteur, possessed of a delicious sense of humor and loved practical jokes. At the gas station in Bloomingdale, the local gathering spot for the male set, Dan recalled how Daddy had rigged up his car so that each person who leaned on his fender got a small electrical shock. And the air rang with laughter over such previous pranks and tricks when Daddy and his brothers and sister would get together.
After being in the Civilian Air Corps and serving with the Army Corps of Engineers during WWII, Daddy worked much of his life for the town of St. Armand, running heavy equipment, graders, snowplows and the like. Daddy worked his last few years for the State at Mt. Van Hoevenburg Olympic Bobsled Run where his fatal accident took place in 1968.
While serving in the Army near Washington D.C., Daddy met my mother, Iris Hullinger, a South Dakota native who was herself working for the Navy department. In 1943 they married and eventually moved back to Bloomingdale, where my sister and I were raised.
Daddy had twin passions- Baseball and the outdoor life. In more youthful years, he pitched for the Brighton Blues, his army team, and then later for the Bloomingdale Firemen’s team until he was at the grand “old” (for baseball) age of 43. At some point in the late 1940’s or early 1950’s he had a chance to play professional baseball, but, as the training camp would have been in a Spanish speaking Latin-American country, my mother thought this too precarious a move for the family. For years after he quit active playing, he coached the little league, and loved teaching children.
He was also an avid hunter, trapper, and fisherman, with hunting being a seemingly natural talent. He knew the woods, the patterns of deer movements, and shot more than his fair share of deer over the years. As the elder of only two daughters, I recall accompanying him hunting, fishing, and checking his traplines. I quite enjoyed those quiet times together listening to his imparting a knowledge I would never quite pursue. However, I think he more enjoyed passing on his knowledge of hunting to my cousin Tom whose father, Alfred Jr., did not hunt. He fixed up an old rifle for Tom to use and Tom remembers quite fondly and appreciatively how Daddy taught him how to hunt.
My father was a warm, generous, kind human being. Judging by the crowds of people overflowing the funeral home and onto the sidewalk the day of his funeral, I believe my father was loved and well-respected by many other than his immediate family.
Barbara Benware Burt