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Strong man, George Benning

Updated Feb 11, 2024
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Strong man, George Benning
A photo of George Benning, age 16, holding up his girlfriend. We don't know who she is. :(
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Sweethearts, 105 years ago. Reminder to everyone, Valentine's Day is coming!
Photo of Steven Melendez Steven Melendez
via Facebook
02/07/2019
Wonderful and unique picture.
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George Lawrence Benning
George Lawrence Benning was born to William Joseph Benning (1852 - 1930) and Imogene N. (Millard) Benning (1854 - 1916) in Boone, Iowa. He had 12 siblings: Nelson, Henry, Lois, Cora, Walter Joseph, Isaac, Grace, Arthur, Mabel and Lloyd. He was the youngest. George was married twice and in his second marriage to Eileen Constance (Tasker) Benning had Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch. He also had a daughter, Lois (Benning) Ewen, from his first marriage to Mildred (Wilson) Benning. His second family lived first in Seattle, then Portland, then in Bremerton Washington, a small port town which grew during WW2. He owned the Chevrolet car dealership in Bremerton. George and Micky Reed, the owner of the Reed Chevrolet dealership in Bremerton Washington, were on a local river fishing trip and Micky drowned. Micky's widow, Meeka (who I, his granddaughter knew, since she and my grandmother were friends until they died), sold the dealership to George. He called it Reed-Benning dealership as an homage to Micky. Chevrolet didn't like the fact that a woman (oh lordy, a WOMAN!) sold the dealership on her own so they made new rules. The upshot? When George, my grandfather, died, my grandmother couldn't sell the dealership! He was very active in the business, social and political components of the community. I know that he was a Freemason and that he had some strong relationships with State politicians. (Note from his granddaughter: George was good friends with Warren Magnuson, first a US Representative and then a US Senator. Evidently, he used to spend summers at my grandparent's house - I saw a letter of condolence from him to my grandmother when George died, expressing how much he would miss George and referencing the wonderful summers he spent at their house. Also in their social circle? Names that you would recognize today: the Gates' - yes, that Bill Gates family - the Nordstroms , and more. The Seattle/Bremerton community was small then.) One cool story about George: He had a bit of real estate in Bremerton and rented two (?) homes to his employees. Upon George's death his will stipulated that the deeds to the homes get passed along to the employees. Also, the story my Mom (his daugher) told me about the homes - the people weren't employees but simply people who lived in Bremerton at the time. Since George was a Mason, he was also involved in charitable activities. Mom said that no one (including family) knew that he had bought (I heard 3) houses for people who had problems paying rent and were going to be evicted. (This was probably around the end of the Depression.) He didn't charge the tenants rent and when he died (within a few years), he left the homes to the tenants. However, my sister (who says she has a copy of George's will), says that she can find no record of this.
Age in photo:
17
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