Gerald Lynn Benton, 67, crossed the finish line Saturday at his home in Saucier, after a lengthy illness. He was born September 30, 1953 in Guin, AL, the oldest of five children to Willie Alvis and Myra Beth (Atkinson) Benton. Gerald grew up in a few places, being part of an Army family while his father served, spending most of his teenage years in Gulfport. An outgoing and athletic young man, Gerald played basketball and ran track, at least until he was old enough to drive and discovered a love for racing. He would race literally anything that would move. From 4-wheelers to cars and trucks, Gerald loved racing. His first race car was a Chevy II, but also raced a Ford Bronco and several others, with him often joking that he won his wife Doris in a street race. Actually he won a race against her then-boyfriend, which might have gotten the ball rolling as they say, but they began dating and were married September 2, 1988. Gerald got into landscaping and construction for a while to earn a living and support his racing habit, eventually going out on his own and opening Benton's Tractor Service in Saucier. That business was a success and is still open today, operated by his son. In his spare time, Gerald was also a competitive shooter, where he was classed as a Master in rifle, shotgun, semi-automatic handgun and revolver. Over the years he spent with the Deep South Shooters Assoc. and the South MS Practical Shooting Assoc., Gerald was widely known in the sport and won no telling how many matches and awards. He is remembered as the outgoing type, a natural leader in whatever he did. As the oldest, Gerald was normally tasked with watching his siblings while his parents were busy or out, often forcing them to play Monopoly to boot. Family was always important to Gerald and he is referred to as "the cornerstone" of his family. He was "everything" to his wife and they stayed active together with camping, racing, 4-wheeling, shooting and more. His kids recall that he was full of wisdom, a man that always had an answer for you, no matter what it was you were dealing with. A loving husband and father, trusted friend and a generous man who was definitely a help in times of need, Gerald will be sadly missed by all whose life he touched. He was preceded by his parents, Willie and Myra Benton. Left to cherish all the fond memories are: his loving wife and companion of over 40 years, Doris; one daughter, Tracy (Aaron) Plaisance of McHenry, and sons Jeremy (Aimee) Remillard of Ocean Springs, with Gerald Benton, II and Joshua Benton (Kalyn Chamness), both of Saucier; sisters Debbie Benton and Kim (David) Anderson, both of Saucier, with Sharon Burleson (Terry Coats) of Gulfport and his brother Dwayne (Anna) Benton, also of Gulfport. He leaves a legacy of four grandchildren: Timothy (Kathrina) Brosamle, A.J. Plaisance, Holden and Mia Remillard, along with numerous nieces, nephews, extended family and friends in the shooters associations, racing community and well beyond. Funeral services have been set for Friday, April 23rd at Trinity Funeral Services in McHenry. Visitation will begin at 1:00 PM, followed by a chapel service at 3:00 PM, with Bro. Neill Tapp officiating. Afterward, Gerald will be laid to rest in the Saucier Community Cemetery. Trinity Funeral Services is honored to serve the Benton family in their time of need and asks everyone to keep Doris and the entire family in your thoughts and prayers.
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