Theodore R. Benson was born on April 22, 1948, to Frank and Mary Benson in Riverside, California, the oldest of five children, with two brothers and two sisters.
Ted attended Adventist schools from first grade through college. He attended San Pasqual Academy his freshman and sophomore years and La Sierra Academy his junior and senior years. For college, he studied at the La Sierra campus of Loma Linda University, majoring in accounting.
While attending La Sierra, Ted began working in information systems at Loma Linda University Medical Center, and this changed his career path. He got interested in the computer field and was invited to spend a year with IBM in their systems engineering program.
Ted met Beverly Kay Wood at La Sierra Academy, and he and Bev were married during semester break at Christmastime in 1967. Because of his relative youth, he had to get permission from his parents and the faculty to be married. Ted, Jr. was born in 1970.
Ted received a call to go to Glendale Adventist Medical Center in 1971 as assistant director of operations for the computer center. In 1976, he was invited to join the Pacific Union Conference as a system analyst and trust auditor. He helped move the Union into the era of computer processing, and when a computer department was formed, Ted served as the director.
Ted served the Pacific Union Conference as the associate treasurer from 1981 through 2001, the undertreasurer from 2002 through 2005, and as treasurer from 2006 through March 31, 2019.
Ted filled many roles in the local church. In the 5th grade he began helping with all audio-visual aspects of his Riverside church. That early training led to opportunities to help with everything from the local church level to assisting with AV needs for the General Conference sessions in New Orleans and Indianapolis. Across a long life of service, he was also a deacon, elder, Pathfinder director, assistant church treasurer, and church treasurer.
The word Pathfinder is synonymous with Ted, beginning with the mentoring he received from his father during his childhood. Ted and Bev got involved with the La Sierra Pathfinder club shortly after they married. When they moved to Glendale, they helped with the Vallejo Drive Pathfinders, and the club grew from 15 to 75 members during their five-year stay. A highlight of their experience with the Camarillo Pathfinder club was taking 50 young people to the first NAD camporee in Camp Hale, Colorado, in 1985.
For many years, Ted and Bev served as Pathfinder coordinators for the Southern California Conference. Recognized for his leadership in the Pathfinder movement, Ted served on the International Camporee Executive Advisory Committee and, along with Bev, attended the International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in August 2019.
Reflecting on his long friendship and professional association with Ted, Elder Ricardo Graham, President of the Pacific Union Conference, wrote, “Ted Benson was a committed, dedicated Seventh-day Adventist who worked untiringly for the cause of God in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Pacific Union. Warm, personable, and friendly, Ted always sought ways to improve the work of the office, making it more beneficial and efficient to the union staff in their service to the seven local conferences in the Pacific Union. He was the type of treasurer who would always find a way to help. Ever a Pathfinder, Ted, along with his wife Beverly, touched a countless number of young Adventists in the Southern California Conference, throughout the Union territory, and beyond. He and Bev were always highly supportive of our cadre of Pathfinders at the International Oshkosh Camporee. Ted Benson was loved and appreciated. He will be sorely missed.”
Ted Benson died Sunday evening, March 8, 2020, after a long battle with cancer. He was 71 years old.
The memorial service that was announced for Benson has been postponed because of health and safety concerns. The new date for the memorial service is yet to be determined. The family has asked that, instead of flowers, memorial donations be made to Holbrook Indian School in Ted’s name.