Richard grew up in the Prattville/Millbrook areas of Alabama. From early on, it was obvious Richard was exceptionally bright and athletically talented. He was gifted in art, and grew to excel in multiple Medias. Had he chosen that path, he most certainly would have been very successful. At age 17, he joined the Marine Corps. Within months, he found himself in a bunker in Beirut, Lebanon. That bunker was bombed leaving 241 military personnel dead and hundreds more injured. He finished his four-year tour of duty, was honorably discharged, and returned home to marry the love of his life. The couple moved to Marion, SC. There, she began her career as a teacher and he became a Security Official at Marion Memorial Hospital. The honeymoon was scarcely over before the Gulf War broke out. Richard immediately joined the local U.S. Army Reserve unit and in a matter of weeks found himself headed to Saudi Arabia and then onto Kuwait. When his unit returned stateside, he was welcomed back to his position and continued to serve in the reserves. Later, Richard served as a police officer in a small town in SC before being recruited and hired as Chief of Police in Lynchburg, SC. Years later, Richard was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident He suffered severe head trauma, and his life was never the same. He was a Christian and an astute student of religious history. He read the Bible cover to cover many times as well and also studied The Book of Mormon and The Koran. Richard Benton died peacefully in his home on Memorial Day. Those that did not truly know him missed knowing a remarkable human being. A memorial service in his honor, presided by Pastor Al Sullivan, will be held at Jerusalem United Methodist Church, 3568 U.S. Hwy 13, Snow Hill, N.C. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mental Health America. www.mentalhealtamerica.net.
Richard is survived by his Grandmother, Thelma Bridgers and husband, Calvin of Knightdale; Step-Father, Ray Brighurst of Potters Hill; Aunt, Renee Foley and husband John of Angier; Uncle and aunt; Wade Whaley and wife Patricia of Grifton; six cousins, one niece and four nephews. Richard was preceded in death by his Mother, Judi Brighurst – now in Heaven awaiting their reunion.