Virgil
Virgil Benner, 90, of 609 Suffolk Drive, Owensboro, died at 12:20pm., Sunday, April 24, 2005, at his home. He was born to Eva and Walter Benner on Jan.l, 1915. He resided with his seven siblings on a small farm in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa. He blamed his abundant proliferation on the train that ran by the house 4am., which, according to him, was too early to get up and too late to get back to sleep. Virgil inherited his pioneering spirit from his ancestors. His great-uncle founded the first schoolhouse in Iowa in 1868 in Keokuk. Virgil's uncle was a federal marshal for the Winnebago Nation in Iowa and Nebraska and was credited with shooting Two-Gun Hart, an infamous bootlegger in Sioux City, Iowa, during the era of Prohibition. Virgil graduated first in his class from Sergeant Bluff High School. He was awarded a voice scholarship to attend Iowa State University that he turned down in order to enlist in the service. That year there were only two young men selected from Iowa to serve in the U.S. Navy. He gave four years of his life to his country and met his future bride, Doris Bradley. In l938, Virgil married Doris and together they were blessed with three children, Robert, Richard and Sharon. Immediately after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Virgil re-enlisted in the Navy and served as a recruiter in Chicago until a reassignment as a warrant officer led him to the Pacific Ocean. While particiapting in Marine landings he saw action and was later awarded the Purple Heart for his efforts to protect his country. After the war, Virgil returned to his family in Sterling, Ill., and began working for the Northwestern Steel and Wire Plant. In l953, he moved to Owensboro to start the Green River Steel Mill, along with a handful of steelworkers from Illinois. He retired from the mill in 1978. During the same year, he accepted a position with the United Nations and traveled to Iraq, where Saddam Hussein had just taken power. He retired from Green River Steel after 38 years and was a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. During the course of his life Virgil lost several members of his family. His daughter, Sharon, passed in 1984, his son, Richard in 1990; and then his wife, Doris, in 1998. Survivors include his oldest son, Robert Benner of St. Paul, Minn.; is grandson, Erik Benner of Owensboro; and three brothers, all of whom reside in California. Virgil had many interests that included reading, framing, listening to classical music and dining at Red's Fish House. He was most proud of his service in the U.S.Navy, being a founding member of Lourdes Parish, the farm he worked and owned in Ohio County, and his family. The memories of our beloved Virgil will encompass everything from his accomplishments in life to his infectious laughter. Many will miss him. Services are at 2pm. Friday at Haley-McGinnis Funeral Home chapel in Owensboro, with Rev. John Meredith officiating. Burial will be in Resurrection Cemetery. Visitation is from 3 to 6pm. Thursday and 12 to 2pm. Friday.

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  1. I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS MY DEEPEST SYMPATHY TO THE BENNER FAMILY IN THEIR TIME OF SADDNESS BY THE PASSING OF VIRGIL. ONCE A NEIGHBOR OF VIRGIL . I WAS ALWAYS IN FOR A GOOD TALK OF A SUMMER EVENING. BUT NOW HE IS WITH HIS BELOVED DORIS AND CHILDREN HE MISS

  2. For us Virgil is part of our family. We have known him for more than twenty years, but it seems that we have known him for a lifetime. His farms, his porch in the evening, his pickup truck and his sun-brownwed face under his baseball cap.. Our children s

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