Community mourns loss of Board of Elections member George Ben W. Benson

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, September 6, 2022

SALISBURY — It is with great sadness that the Rowan County Democratic Party announced the death of George W. Benson on Aug. 22.

A member of the Rowan County Board of Elections, Benson was proud to be appointed to serve his community in this important way and worked diligently to provide fair, safe and accessible voting. He saw his position as a servant to all of the people of Rowan. A graduate of the Salisbury Citizen Academy, Benson dedicated much of his time advocating for better services for the elderly and disabled in Rowan County, including greater transportation access and affordable housing.

Born in Rowan County, Benson graduated from Boyden High School and later Central Piedmont Community College with a business degree. He worked in N.C. and Florida, returning to Salisbury in 2012 to be closer to his family.

He soon became active in the local Democratic community, and those who attended a Rowan County political event would likely remember Benson as the friendly guy behind a table, reminding you to register and vote, volunteer to help locally, and donate money to elect more Democrats. You knew exactly what Benson thought as he was never hesitant to voice an opinion.

With his often long hair and bushy beard, Benson volunteered as Santa Claus for many of the RCDP Christmas Celebrations at Rowan Helping Ministries. Benson had a ready wit, a winning smile and the intelligence to argue and debate politics with anyone.

A lifelong Democrat, Benson’s public political preferences took a back seat once he was appointed to the Rowan County Board of Elections. A staunch proponent of Sunday voting and additional Saturdays during Early Voting, Benson would often remind anyone in earshot that it was obvious that many voters — Democrats, Unaffiliated and Republicans — liked having Sunday and Saturday voting in Rowan County. Should you question him, he had the figures and facts to convince you. George made presentations to the N.C. State Board of Elections when the local board failed to reach consensus and the early voting decision for Rowan went to the state level. He was most proud of the state board’s decision to endorse The People’s Plan, the first time Rowan County included two Sunday voting days during early voting in remembered history.

Many friends described the man they loved and respected on Facebook. A compilation follows:

• “We lost a fierce advocate for our local democracy this past week. George was a fighter for and lover of this community. I will miss his humor, wit, grit and frankness.”

• “George was courageous and believed in doing right for all citizens. He wrote beautiful articles and was a purveyor of TRUTH. Rest well in Peace and Power.”

• “Such a sad time for NC Local politics! George W. Benson was a constant for volunteering, stepping in, and being available to help.”

• “George was an amazing man with a heart of gold.”

• “I’ll miss his text messages after a council meeting giving me advice, opinions and hell sometimes. We lost a great one this week for democracy and equity for everyone.”

• “George was always so enjoyable and full of colorful comments and great stories.”

• “I am really going to miss George. Please honor his memory by registering to vote and checking your current registration.”

• “George and I worked together for a couple of years and he was a good man… good soul… he was respected by many and revered for his moral compass and his work ethic… RIP my friend… God bless his family.”

This good man will be sorely missed by residents of Rowan County and by friends and beloved family. A memorial service was held on Saturday, Sept. 3, at Maupin Avenue Presbyterian Church.

The Rowan County Democratic Party is grateful to have had George W. Benson as a stalwart friend and advocate of democracy.