BENZ, W. F. 1863-1924
Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 3/9/2015 at 22:32:36
Mayor W. F. Benz Dies After A Short Illness
Passed Away At His Home In This City Sunday Afternoon
Funeral Held Wednesday
Held Public Office in Grundy County Continuously For 29 Years
W. F. Benz, mayor of Grundy Center, died at his home in this city at five o'clock Sunday afternoon. He had been afflicted for a number of years with kidney trouble. The trouble came on in a malignant form about a month ago and three weeks ago last Friday he was taken to Des Moines for a thorough examination by a specialist. He remained there for continuous treatment for two weeks but showed no improvement and he was brought to his home. His condition continued to get worse until the end came a week after his return.
Funeral services conducted by Rev. E. W. Benbow were held at the Presbyterian church at ten o'clock yesterday forenoon. Business houses in the city were closed during the time of the funeral and the church was filled to the limits of its capacity during the service. Following the service here the remains were taken to Wellsburg by auto and from there by teams to the cemetery adjoining the Evangelical church in Pleasant Valley township, where they were laid in their last resting place by the side of his father and mother.
The casket was opened at the grave at the urgent request of the many old friends and neighbors in that part of the county, who on account of the bad condition of the roads were unable to attend the funeral service at Grundy Center.
Mr. Benz was born in Batavia, Ill., on September 15th, 1863. He would have been sixty-one years old his next birthday. When he was six years old he came with his family to Grundy county and resided here continually up to the time of his death. Though far from being an old man, his residence in this county for a period of fifty-five years placed him among the list of our Grundy pioneers. The Benz family when they came to this county made their home on a farm in Pleasant Valley township, and there our deceased mayor grew to manhood. So well was he regarded by those among whom he was raised that in the year 1894 his neighbors presented him as a candidate for a county office. He was nominated for the office of county recorder, was elected, and served in that office for the customary period of six years. For a period of twenty-nine years from the time of his first election to a county office up to the time of his death he served almost continually in some official position. It can be said of him that during that long period of office tenure he gave the public the very best of his ability. As a public servant he was most obliging and accommodating.
Other official positions which Mr. Benz occupied were deputy postmaster under E. H. Allison at Grundy Center. This place he held for four years. His longest official service was in the sheriff's office in which he was the deputy for a period of eighteen years. He began his first service in this office under W. E. Morrison and remained at this post when the office passed to James Black and later when Black was succeeded by W. F. Bockes the former deputy was asked to remain and he served continually in that capacity up to the time of his death. He was a member of the town council for a period of ten years and four years ago he was chosen mayor of Grundy Center. Two years later he was re-elected and his second term would have expired the coming April.
Very few men in this county, if any, have held so many places of responsibility as Mr. Benz, and very few were better known over the county than he. His long term of public service has no black marks against it. Aside from his public service he was beloved as a friend and neighbor. Those in trouble or grief never failed to find a sympathetic and helpful friend in Bill Benz. Since his death many hundreds in this county have felt that they have lost a real friend.
Mr. Benz was married to Sadie E. Phillips, of Aplington, Oct. 12th, 1892. The wife and one son, Fred, of Des Moines, survive him. He came from a family of four sons and three daughters. Of the sons, only one now remains, August Benz, of Toronto, S.D. Of the daughters, Mrs. L. L. Bausman, of Pleasant Valley township, and Mrs. Caroline Van Ningen, of White, S.D., are still living.
--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 27 March 1924, pg 1
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