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Leroy A. Benzinger family.

Photo courtesy of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Archives.

Benzinger, LeRoy Arthur, Jr. (1922–1988)

By Remwil R. Tornalejo, and Nicoli R. Rivera

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Remwil R. Tornalejo is an associate professor in the Historical-Theological department of the International Institute of Advanced Studies Seminary (AIIAS). Tornalejo has a B.A. in theology from Mountain View College, Valencia, Philippines, and M.P.S., M.Div., and M.Th. degrees from AIIAS. He had served as a pastor, Literature Ministry Seminary dean and instructor at the South Philippine Union Conference. He had served as chair of the theology department of the South Philippine Adventist College. Tornalejo completed his D.Theol. from Theological Union (ATESEA). He is married to Marilou Manatad. They have four children.

Nicoli Rivera, B.A. in theology (Mountain View College, Valencia City, Bukidnon) is the youngest of the four children of Pastor Ultimino Rivera Jr and Rachel Rivera. In 2017 he worked as a youth pastor in Jimenez for one year. Currently, he is a student at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS), studying for a Master of Religion degree with a major in New Testament, which he is expected to finish in 2021.

First Published: September 21, 2022

LeRoy Arthur Benzinger, Jr. was a teacher, educator, missionary, and school manager and administrator.

Early Years

LeRoy Arthur Benzinger Jr., was born May 26, 1922, in Hebron, Connecticut, to Leroy Arthur Benzinger, Sr., and Edna Lillian Broome Benzinger.1 Benzinger was the fourth of five children, Joseph Kenneth (1918–1999); Alberta Edna (1920–1920); Shirley Mae (1921–2015); Leroy Arthur (1922-1988); and Evelyn (1928–2015).2 His early life was spent in Amston, Connecticut, where he also finished his elementary education. He was baptized by Elder Oscar Snipe, in New London, Connecticut, in November 1934, at 12 years old.3

Education and Marriage

Benzinger attended Windham High School from 1936 to 1937, and attended South Lancaster Academy in Massachusetts from 1937 until 1940. He attended Atlantic Union College from 1940 until 1942, then served in World War II under Gen. George S. Patton with the Third Army in European-African Middle Eastern Theater.4 He returned to Atlantic Union College in 1946 to finish his B.A. in religion, graduating in 1949.5 He earned a master's degree from Syracuse University.6

Benzinger married Mildred Evelyn Gram on June 14, 1942, in Binghamton, New York. The wedding was officiated by the bride’s father.7 A native of Amston, Connecticut, Mildred Evelyn was born January 21, 1922, to an Adventist pastor, H. P. Gram, and Gladys M. Kolb.8 Leroy and Mildred Evelyn both grew up in a devout Adventist homes. Mildred was baptized into the Adventist faith in June,1935.

Mildred was educated in different schools and places, due to her father’s periodic transfers as a pastor. She studied at Utica Academy at Utica, New York, and Union Springs Academy, in Union Springs, New York.9 She studied at Atlantic Union College from 1940 to 1941, where she met Leroy. Leroy and Evelyn had a daughter named Karyl, born in 1947.10

Ministry

After Benzinger’s graduation, he was called to Norridgewock, Maine as a teacher of grades 7-10 and principal of Riverview Junior Academy from 1949 to 1952.11 In 1950 the Northern New England Conference issued him a ministerial license.12 The school was designed to give the youth a “broad foundation for future growth.”13 The Atlantic Union Gleaner reported that Benzinger “led the school in practical training through a manual training class and has endeavored to lead the youth in the applied arts.”14 Mildred Benzinger acted as the librarian in the school, lead music classes, and even taught sewing classes for three years without being paid. Both of them also enhanced themselves by learning French language during the summer in Syracuse University in New York for three years, with meager salary of $42.50 per week.

In 1952, Benzinger received a call to head up the Teachers Training Department of the Indonesian Union Training School in Bandung Java, also known as Indonesian Union Seminary (now Indonesia Adventist University).15 From 1952 to 1958 he served in the Far Eastern Division in different capacities. Beginning in 1955 Mildred Benzinger taught classes at Indonesian Union Seminary in Bandung Java, Indonesia.16

In 1956 Benzinger was appointed the president and business manager of Indonesian Union Seminary.17 He served in this position until the end of 1957. The following year he was called to be the acting principal and taught Bible and Biology classes at Far Eastern Academy in Singapore, while J. M. Davis, the principal, was on furlough.18 In 1958 Benzinger, Jr. returned from mission service to be the new principal of Browning Memorial Elementary School in South Lancaster,19 serving until 1961.20

Later Life

There are not many existing records of Benzinger’s activities during his retirement, but he remained active in the church and supported its programs. In 1967 he was awarded the Jasper award, having helped surpass the Ingathering campaign goal of $900.00 for the Williamantic, Connecticut Seventh-day Adventist Church.21

Benzinger died December 25, 1988, at the age of 65, in Springfield, Massachusetts, and was buried in South Cemetery Orange, Franklin County, Massachusetts.22

Contribution

LeRoy Arthur Benzinger’s life was dedicated to the teaching ministry, training and molding youth, preparing them for career and service. He conducted youth training camps, offering spiritual and practical guidance to the youth and developed their talents.23

Sources

Biographical Information Blank, LeRoy Arthur Benzinger. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Archives, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.

Biographical Information Blank, Evelyn Mildred Gram Benzinger. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Archives, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.

“Deaths.” Atlantic Union Gleaner, March 2, 1989.

General Conference Committee Minutes, August 7, 1958. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Archives, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.

https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/155107218/leroy-arthur-benzinger. Accessed July 13, 2022.

Langworthy, L. R. “Christian Training for the Youth.” Atlantic Union Gleaner, September 12, 1950.

Mercado, Anita. “Church Surpasses Ingathering Goal.” Atlantic Union Gleaner, March 3, 1967.

“News in Brief.” Atlantic Union Gleaner, September 8, 1958.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, various years.

“Wedding.” Atlantic Union Gleaner, June 24, 1942.

Notes

  1. Biographical Information Blank, LeRoy Arthur Benzinger, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Archives, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.

  2. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/155107218/leroy-arthur-benzinger. Accessed July 13, 2022.

  3. Biographical Information Blank, LeRoy Arthur Benzinger.

  4. “Deaths,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, March 2, 1989, 21.

  5. Biographical Information Blank, LeRoy Arthur Benzinger.

  6. “Deaths,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, March 2, 1989, 21.

  7. “Wedding,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, June 24, 1942, 4.

  8. Biographical Information Blank, Evelyn Mildred Gram Benzinger, General Conference Archives.

  9. Ibid.

  10. “Deaths,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, March 2, 1989, 21.

  11. Biographical Information Blank, LeRoy Arthur Benzinger; “Deaths,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, March 2, 1989, 21.

  12. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950), 27.

  13. L. R. Langworthy, “Christian Training for the Youth,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, September 12, 1950, 5.

  14. Ibid.

  15. Biographical Information Blank, Leroy Arthur Benzinger.

  16. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1955), 214.

  17. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1956), 216.

  18. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (1958), 218.

  19. “News in Brief,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, September 8, 1958, 12; General Conference Committee Minutes, August 7, 1958, 54. https://documents.adventistarchives.org/Minutes/NAD/NAD1958-08.pdf. Accessed July 14, 2020.

  20. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1961), 226.

  21. Anita Mercado, “Church Surpasses Ingathering Goal,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, March 3, 1967, 12..

  22. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/155107218/leroy-arthur-benzinger. Accessed July 13, 2022.

  23. L. R. Langworthy, “Christian Training for the Youth,” Atlantic Union Gleaner, September 12, 1950, 5.

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Tornalejo, Remwil R., Nicoli R. Rivera. "Benzinger, LeRoy Arthur, Jr. (1922–1988)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 21, 2022. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DAP9.

Tornalejo, Remwil R., Nicoli R. Rivera. "Benzinger, LeRoy Arthur, Jr. (1922–1988)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 21, 2022. Date of access May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DAP9.

Tornalejo, Remwil R., Nicoli R. Rivera (2022, September 21). Benzinger, LeRoy Arthur, Jr. (1922–1988). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DAP9.