CASTLE ROCK Myron Buzz G. Benham, 77, of Castle Rock passed away peacefully Dec. 18, 2010, following the removal of a malignant brain tumor a month earlier. He was able to be at home the last nine days of his life, surrounded by his family.
He was born April 20, 1933, in Vancouver, to Evelina (Falardeau) and Clement Benham. They resided in Vancouver until 1946 when the family moved to Long Beach, where he graduated from Ilwaco High School in 1951.
He enlisted in the Navy in August 1951 and received extensive training in aviation electronics, serving two tours in Japan. Following his discharge, he attended the University of Washington, where he majored in engineering. In November 1957 he moved to Phoenix and completed his junior year at Arizona State in Tempe, but the desire to fly was a strong pull, and in December 1958, he entered the Air Force and completed its pilot training program.
After moving back to the local area in 1960, he worked in the engineering department at Longview Fibre for two years, where he met his future wife and lifelong helpmate, Violette Eklund Howard. They married Jan. 13, 1961.
In December 1962, the family moved to San Jose, Calif., where he was an air traffic controller while earning his commercial and instrument ratings. In July 1964, he began his dream career with Trans World Airlines (TWA) and moved from first officer to that much-desired left seat in just two years.
He enjoyed a 24-year career with TWA where he flew kind of aircraft. But even after taking early retirement from TWA in 1988, he wasnt quite ready to stop flying. He accepted a contract to fly 747s for KLMs expanding airline, which he did for several years. In 1990 he retired from commercial aviation and he opted for aircraft that were more fun, such as getting certified to fly both gliders and float planes.
He and his wife moved to Castle Rock in August 2003. A quieter country life made for a welcome change as he aged, but he continued to be an accomplished and dedicated do-it-yourselfer.
Survivors include his wife, Violette of Castle Rock; a daughter, Lisa Benham of San Jose, Calif.; two stepchildren, Philip Benham of Milwaukee, Wis., and Wendy Howard-Benham of San Jose; two grandchildren, Anders Benham-Archdeacon and Hayley Benham-Archdeacon, both of San Jose; and several nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will take place at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 22 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Castle Rock with Pastor Bob Sinclair presiding. A reception will follow in the fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the St. Paul Hunger Fund, P.O. Box 847, Castle Rock, WA 98611 or the Humane Society of Cowlitz County, P.O. Box 172, Longview, WA 98632.
Cremation has taken place under the direction of Hubbard Funeral Home. His ashes will be interred at Tower Road Cemetery in Castle Rock during a private graveside gathering.