Fort Worth, TX - William D. (Bill) Benge, a public relations/marketing professional and Fort Worth community leader, died March 23, 2023 following a long battle with cancer.
Bill was born in 1938 in Wellington, Texas, to the late Claudia and Lester Benge and moved with his family to Fort Worth as a child. He graduated from Amon Carter Riverside High School. He met Sharon Jenkins of Dallas when they were freshmen at Baylor University. Both transferred their sophomore year – Sharon to the University of Texas and Bill to TCU, where he later graduated and was a member of Delta Tau Delta. Their romance survived a 3-year, long-distance relationship, and they married in June 1960, settling in Fort Worth, where they raised two sons, Bret and Brook, and a daughter, Barrett, in the Park Hill neighborhood.
Bill began his professional career as marketing director of the newly opened Seminary South Shopping Center, then became marketing director for Dr. Pepper Bottling Co. He was executive vice president of Jerre R. Todd & Associates Advertising, 1973-1983. He later was development-marketing vice-president at Cook-Fort Worth Children’s Medical Center, where he directed a $23 million capital campaign, and was development-marketing director at James L. West Center. Since 1989, he has owned Benge Marketing & Public Relations.
Bill’s professional recognitions include numerous Fort Worth Advertising Club “Best of Shows” and “Addys” and three Society of Professional Journalists’ “Top Hat” Awards.
His community outreach touched many, as SPJ Golden Gridiron Committee director and chair, Rotary Club secretary/director, Camp Carter YMCA president, and director of Fort Worth Chamber Music Society, Parenting Guidance Center and Advertising Club. He was PR advisor to numerous non-profit groups including United Way, Arts Council, FWISD, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Fort Worth Ballet, Fort Worth Opera and Hippocket Theater.
Bill was a member of First Presbyterian Church, where a memorial service is scheduled in the chapel for April 1 at 11:00am.
Bill loved attending theater productions with his arts broadcaster and theater director wife, family meals, travel, books, local art museums, the TCU Frog Club, and entertaining. Friends knew him for his jovial personality, ever ready to share a friendly greeting and amusing story.
Survivors: Sharon Benge, wife; sons Bret Benge, Lubbock, Brook Benge (Laura), Kansas City, Mo.; daughter Barrett Karr (Shane), Washington, Va.; grandchildren Baker Benge, New Orleans; Brody Benge (Kylie), Gonzales, La.; Brice Benge, Pasco Wash.; Claire Benge and Claudia Benge, Kansas City; Tilman Karr, Washington, Va.; great grandson Wells Benge.
In lieu of flowers, Bill would have liked folks to remember him by contributing to an arts organization of choice.