We are very sad to report that Prof. Harry Benford died on June 6th. Harry was an active supporter of UMGASS since 1956, a former faculty advisor, and author of The Gilbert and Sullivan Lexicon.
Benford’s Memorial Service will be held Tuesday, July 7, 2015 in the Hanson Room at Glacier Hills. There will be a gathering of family and friends at 9:30 a.m., before the 10:30 a.m. Celebration Service.
In lieu of flowers, Benford asked that donations be made to any of the following:
- First United Methodist Church, 120 S. State Street, Ann Arbor MI 48104
- Friends of the U of M Gilbert & Sullivan Society (FUMGASS) c/o David Goldberg, 8461 Thurston Road, Pinckney MI 48169 — Include ‘Harry Benford’ on the memo line.
- U of M Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering Department Loyal Crew Fund This is an endowment fund. Gifts to endowment funds will be administered as a permanent endowment under Michigan law and University policies. Contributions may be made either by check or on-line. If by check, make check to University of Michigan with memo line NAME Loyal Crew Fund, in memory of Prof Harry Benford; mail to: U of M College of Engineering, 1221 Beal Ave Suite G264, Ann Arbor MI 48109. Or Online: HTTPS://leadersandbest.umich.edu/tributes
Harry’s full obituary published in Ann Arbor News from June 20 to June 21, 2015 follows:
Professor Benford died Saturday, June 6, 2015, at home at Glacier Hills in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was 97, the third son of Frank and Georgia Benford. Born and raised in Schenectady NY, he studied naval architecture at the University of Michigan. There he met, and later married, Elizabeth Smallman, who predeceased him in 2005, and whom he described as the maple syrup on his pancake of life. After graduating from the University in 1940, he worked at the Newport News Shipbuilding Company. In 1948 he returned to the University as an assistant professor, eventually rising to full professorial rank and serving a term as chairman of the Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. In 1982 the title of Professor Emeritus was conferred, but he continued to be active in his department on a voluntary basis until 2007. Benford’s professional achievements were centered on the application of economics to decision making in ship design. His pioneering studies led to invitations to speak world-wide and he lectured in more than thirty countries. This activity tied in nicely with his interest in travel, which hobby he shared with his wife. He was granted three awards by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers including its highest honor: the Taylor Medal (for notable achievement in naval architecture). He was the author of two technical books and about 150 papers. He was a member of a dozen technical societies and a fellow in two. He was an active consultant to industry and government and served on several committees of the National Research Council. Along with his penchant for world travel, Benford enjoyed photography and compiled carefully structured albums of his handiwork. Benford and Betty, his first wife, were both members of the First United Methodist Church. They were known in Ann Arbor for their association since 1956 as faculty advisors to the U of M Gilbert & Sullivan Society. He was also the author of a widely read book about the Gilbert & Sullivan operas. Benford is survived by sons Howard (Chrystyna) of Midland MI, Frank (Jean Hutchinson) of Salem OR, and Robert “Tigger” (Martha Partridge) of Brooklyn NY, and five grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and his second wife, Kathryn.