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1947 Dr. John 2023

Dr. John Irving Benson

June 9, 1947 — December 28, 2023

Dr. John I. Benson, 76, died peacefully on Thursday, December 28, 2023. He was born

in Havre, Montana to Oscar Gustav Benson and Dorothy Wichern Benson, and lived in

Plentywood, MT. His Dad died when he was young, and his mother and sisters moved to

San Diego, California when he was 8 years old. 


Dr. Benson served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1969 based at Fort Ord and in Wiesbaden Germany. 

After military discharge, he remained in Germany for three years serving in a Christian ministry.

John graduated from Crawford High School, San Diego, and received a B.A. from

Baylor University in 1977. He graduated from Baylor School of Medicine in Houston in

1980 and did an internship and one year of residency in Surgery/ENT at University of

Virginia before changing his medical field to Psychiatry, completing his residency in

Charlottesville. He did a fellowship in Administrative Psychiatry and was Board Certified

in Forensic Psychiatry. Dr. Benson worked at The Medical College of Georgia in

Augusta where he was Medical Director of Psychiatry at the large VA Hospital there. In

1988 Dr. Benson moved with his family to Redlands CA to be Medical Director of

Charter Hospital of Redlands. He worked for the State of California at Patton State

Hospital and at the Parole Outpatient Clinic before retiring in 2014. John continued to

work part time in private practice until 2021.


John had an ear for languages, taking Chinese, German, and Latin in High School; and

an ear for music - playing piano by ear and having a love for classical music and opera.

John loved literature, writing and words. He enjoyed traveling in the US, Europe, and to

Kauai every spring for many years. He was an excellent cook and photographer. His

favorite thing was drinking coffee and having conversations with friends and family.

John was involved in volunteer Christian ministry with the Navigators and Pastoral Care

Ministries. He loved to discuss theology and the Bible, having memorized several

books of the New Testament. He was a founding member of Christ’s Church, Yucaipa,

(Anglican) and served on the prayer team and vestry.


John is predeceased by his father, Oscar and mother, Dorothy.


He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Joan Baker Benson, son David (Barbara) of Ulm

Germany and daughter Christina Ward (Dan) of Scituate MA, and five grandchildren:

Roberta, Martha, and Anne-Marie Benson, Duffy and Emory Ward. He is also survived

by his sister Christina (Ken) of Beverly Hills, sister Dea of West Hollywood and half-

brother Oscar Benson of Missoula MT. He had many beloved nieces and nephews,

great-nieces, and great-nephews.


Funeral Services will be held at The Trinity Evangelical Free Church, 1551 Reservoir Road, Redlands, CA   92374 

on Thursday, January 18, 2024, at 2:00 pm. 


Interment will be private at Riverside National Cemetery the following morning. In lieu of flowers please make donations to

The Redlands Bowl, Christ’s Church Yucaipa, or any charity of your choice especially

ones for the mentally ill.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. John Irving Benson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Service

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Pacific time)

Trinity EV Free Church Worship Center

1551 Reservoir Road, Redlands, CA 92374

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