William B. "Bill" Benton, Jr., a resident of Dothan, died Thursday, January 30, 2014 at Flowers Hospital. He was 81.
Memorial services will be held 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at Byrd Funeral Home Chapel on West Main Street with the Rev. Kyle Gatlin officiating. Interment with military honors will be held at Ft. Mitchell National Cemetery in Ft. Mitchell, Alabama at 1:30 p.m. CST. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 9:00 until 10:00 a.m. Tuesday prior to service time.
In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to the Museum of the U. S. Army, Ft. Belvoir, VA or the Wounded Warrior Project.
Mr. Benton was born January 23, 1933 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and was a graduate of Baton Rouge High. In 1956, he entered the U.S. Army and served in Korea, Germany, and three tours in Vietnam before retiring in 1979 at Lt. Colonel. He was the recipient of numerous awards during his military career including twice awarded the Legion of Merit, seven Air Medals and Master Army Aviator Wings.
In 1988 he was asked to manage the Southeast Alabama Regional Airport (formerly Opp/Andalusia Airport). He served as director for 20 years and the terminal there is now named "The Bill Benton Terminal". Mr. Benton was named "Airport Manager of the Year" in 1996 and was inducted into the "Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame" in 2011. He was both fixed and rotary wing rated and a Master Army Aviator. He was a member of Covenant United Methodist Church.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn R. Benton of Dothan; a son, William B. Benton, III (Pauline) of Mansfield, TX; three grandchildren, Emily, Stacey, and Stephen Benton, all of Mansfield, TX.