William "Bill" Benson, January 6, 1932 - December 30, 2018

William "Bill"  Benson
Send Condolence

(Arthur) William (Bill) Benson, age 86, of Eau Claire died Sunday, December 30, 2018. Bill was a man of enduring curiosity. He dedicated his life to learning and sharing that passion with those who had the privilege to know him.

Bill was born to Arthur and Altha (Phillips) Benson on January 6, 1932 in Toledo, Ohio.  A 1949 graduate of Edward Drummond Libbey High School in Toledo, Bill continued his education at the University of Toledo, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in 1953. After his first year of teaching at Woodworth School, Dearborn, Michigan, he served in the U.S. Army-Pacific Adjutant Corp, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Upon his honorable discharge from service, he resumed his teaching position, and enrolled in the Graduate School at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, where he received the Master’s of Education in Art in 1959. That fall, he enrolled in the graduate program at the University of Iowa, Iowa City to pursue a Master’s of Fine Arts degree.

He met his future wife, Amy Jensen in Iowa City, where they were married on August 13, 1961. He received his M.F.A. Degree from the University of Iowa in 1962. Bill’s career in higher education began at the State University of New York – Plattsburgh, where he served as the first campus gallery director, from 1962-64. From 1964-1968, he joined the faculty at Valparaiso University (Indiana) where he established programs in both printmaking and art education. In 1968, Bill began his thirty-year fine arts teaching career at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He served as department chair of Art and Design during the construction of the Haas Fine Arts Center. His roles at UWEC (1968-1998) spanned printmaking, design and art education courses.

Bill served on numerous campus, civic, educational and religious committees, councils and boards. His volunteerism extended over a half-century. He served eight years as board member and two years as president of the Wisconsin Art Education Association. He retired as professor emeritus from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1998. During his lifetime, he explored a variety of art forms in printmaking and painting. His artwork is represented in many public and private collections.

Bill studied in Mexico and Europe and later he and Amy enjoyed decades of domestic and global travel. Together, they ventured to five continents and most of the United States.

Bill is survived by Amy (Jensen), his wife of 57 years; his two children, Drew (Tiffany) Benson of Fort Worth, TX, and Johanna (Robert) Peterson of Eau Claire; his four grandsons Evan Peterson of Eau Claire and Daniel, Matthew and Nathan Benson of Fort Worth, TX; two sisters; Ruth (Eric) Rauch and Ann Wolff, both of Clearwater, Florida; nieces and nephews, in-laws, friends, dear neighbors and colleagues.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Altha L (Phillips) and Arthur William Sr., infant son, Derek; and sister, Laura Aukerman.

In lieu of flowers, Bill’s family requests memorials be directed to the UWEC Foundation, Room 214, Schofield Hall, 105 Garfield Avenue, Eau Claire, WI 54701, to Grace Lutheran Church (ELCA), PO Box 965, Eau Claire, WI 54702, the University of Iowa Foundation, PO Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa or a selected charity of donor’s choice.

A visitation will take place from 1 - 5 p.m. on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at Grace Lutheran Church, 202 W. Grand Ave, Eau Claire. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 6, 2019 at Grace Lutheran Church, 202 W. Grand Ave with Pastor Dean Simpson officiating. There will be no visitation before the service on Sunday.

Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements. Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com.


  1. Don Ballegeer January 12, 2019

    Dear Family,
    I taught also at UWEC (Physics). We were there together for many years in the School of Arts and Sciences. We only met a few times, but it was easily evident that Bill was indeed a gentle man. After we both retired, I got to know him much better, especially when he took my several weeks course on Digital Cameras at the E.C. Senior Center. He was a great student, eager to learn, and we developed a warm friendship through that interchange and later. I will miss him, as I am sure you will also.

  2. Susan Benz Moore January 9, 2019

    I pass by your house often when I am walking my dogs & always think of you both. Today I just read about Bill's passing & I am deeply sorry for your loss.

  3. Allan Servoss January 5, 2019

    Dear Amy,

    I was saddened to hear about Bill. He was a gentleman first class, a fine artist and respected educator. I always enjoyed our conversations and was impressed by his unfailing support of artists and art. He is/will be missed by all who were fortunate enough to know him.

  4. Soni Bomford January 4, 2019

    My dear family members, Amy, Drew and Johanna Benson and their own families, my cousins Adam and Connor, will be in my heart and mind as you remember the wonderful life of my beloved Uncle Bill these coming days. I wish I could be with you to share the grief at his passing, and the gratitude I feel to have had Bill as a source of joy in my childhood, and to have known him also in my maturity, fully able to appreciate his extraordinary goodness, generosity and interest in life. With love to you all, soni

  5. Ron and Mary Keezer January 3, 2019

    So sorry to hear of Bill's passing. He was a true lover of the Arts. As a colleague at UWEC he always had a cheerful word for us. He lived a long and productive life. He positively affected a lot of people. We will miss him.

  6. Ruth Benson Rauch January 2, 2019

    What a blessing to have had Bill as my brother. His curiosity led to a lot of adventures and delightful surprises for me. His Christian faith and leadership set strong examples for all. Along with his art and teaching his life will act as a beacon for many to follow. I will always be grateful for the gift he has been.

  7. Christos Theo January 2, 2019

    I will always remember Bill as an incredible teacher,
    colleague, and friend. His unending passion for life-
    long learning and desire to improve the lives of others,
    will forever serve as a professional and personal inspiration.

    May our fondest memories of Bill, forever remain.

  8. Liz Schmidt January 2, 2019

    Amy, Ken and I are so sorry to hear about your loss, Bill was a very talented, and caring person.
    Drew and Johanna, you had a fine father who loved you both dearly and would love recounting stories of your lives and adventures.
    I know no-one can miss him as much as you, but know that we will too.