Allan Eugene Benton, 70, of Cody, died Jan. 13, 2021, from complications of COVID-19.
Born June 23, 1950, in Laramie to Allan and Armella Benton, he graduated from Cheyenne East High School in 1968, skipping the graduation ceremony to go fishing.
He attended Casper College and the University of Wyoming until he skipped a semester in 1971 and promptly got drafted by the Army. Instead, he hightailed it to the Naval Recruiter and enlisted in the Navy.
Upon completion of basic training, he was chosen by his company commander as an Outstanding Recruit by virtue of his initiative, perseverance, and devotion to duty. In 1972, he attended submarine school in Groton, Conn., and became a radio operator and ballistic missile submarine technician on the U.S.S. James Monroe stationed out of Pearl Harbor and Guam. Upon completing active duty, he spent two years in the Naval Reserve.
At this time, he returned to the University of Wyoming and graduated in 1978 with a B.S. in History which led to a lifetime of reading, and an impressive ability to remember historical dates and facts. In 1980, he began his 26-year career at Mountain Bell (Ma Bell) in Cody. He was a central office electronics technician and earned several radio and telephone certifications from the FCC.
He particularly enjoyed providing technical services to Yellowstone National Park. He spent several summers working out of Yellowstone Lake Lodge and Gardner, Mont., where he kept his horse, Murphy, and enjoyed packing into the Yellowstone backcountry on his days off.
In the winter months the Park was serviced with snow machines, and he told tales of going over what was thought to be a snow drift, but turned out to be an unhappy, sleeping, snow-covered buffalo. He also told adventurous stories of servicing the radio tower on top of Mount Washburn and helping keep the service going during the Park fires of 1988.
During the Christmas season of 1987, he met the love of his life, the former Sheri Floyd. Floyd, also a Navy veteran and single mother of two young boys, had picked up an extra job as a server to earn Christmas money. One night, Benton was playing in a dart league and Floyd was their server. After casual conversation and flirtation, he was totally taken with her, and that night he told his friends, “That’s the woman I am going to marry.”
Floyd was not interested at first, but romantic gestures won her over. He would often leave surprise gifts in her car like flowers or a rocking horse for her boys. The deal was cinched when he showed up at her house before she got off work, to bring a VCR, movies, and pizza to her boys. They were married May 21,1988, at the Wayfarers Chapel on the banks of the North Fork River. Last spring, they celebrated 32 years of marriage.
Benton loved hunting, fly-fishing, golfing, camping and was a gourmet cook. A devoted member of the Elks Lodge, his baked beans were always requested for the Senior Elks Fishing trip, and he was a master at cooking prime rib. He was extremely pleased and honored to receive the Elk of the Year award in 1994. He was also involved in the Kiwanis Club and for years taught their hunter safety course which he deemed extremely important and was very patient at. He taught a multitude of people including his sons, grandchildren and their friends.
At home on the golf course since high school, Benton played in leagues, tournaments and was proud of making a hole-in-one. In the past several years Benton’s favorite pasttime was heading to the desert with their side-by-side known as “The Blue Thing ” to hunt meteors with a metal detector.
He was an extremely kind man with a big heart and was the source of much joy. Deeply loved by his family, Benton is survived by his wife Sheri, his son Bryan M. Floyd, wife (Danielle); son Christopher Floyd; granddaughters Ashley, Alexa, Grace and Ava; grandsons Hunter and Michael; sisters Ruth Benton, husband (Tod), Chapel Hill, N.C.; Jan Poulson, husband (Jeff), Sioux City, Iowa; Barb Lawyer, husband (Bob), Cheyenne; his uncle Cliff Kirk, Gillette, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A celebration of his life will be held at a future date. Memorials in his name can be sent to The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (rmef.org)
Condolences can be sent at BallardFH.com.