2018-02-10 / Obituaries

Robert ‘Bob’ Benjamin


Robert Benjamin Robert Benjamin Robert Edward “Bob” Benjamin of Mackinac Island and Petoskey was a photographer, art teacher, author, and businessman on Mackinac Island. Mr. Benjamin passed away peacefully Friday, December 29, 2017, in Petoskey, surrounded by family. He was 94.

He was born January 14, 1923, to Herbert Edwin and Mary Foley Benjamin on Mackinac Island.

Mr. Benjamin spent his childhood on Mackinac Island with his sister, Dorothy Jean Zack. He was graduated from Petoskey High School in 1941.

He attended the New York Institute of Photography in New York City. He put his skills to use as an Army photographer in World War II. After the war, he enrolled at Michigan State College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in art education in 1949.

He married Beverly Jean Hamilton December 27, 1953, in Coleman.

Mr. Benjamin also earned his master’s degree in education from Wayne State University in 1959. He worked as an art teacher in the Farmington Public Schools for 33 years. He also helped create the Farmington Arts Council and the Livingston Oakland County (LOC) Federal Credit Union.

He opened his first store on Mackinac Island in 1950, as a Kodak film franchise. He published three books about Mackinac Island, including a walking history published in 1951, and his last, “Mackinac Album,” showcasing his collection of personal and historical photos, published in 2008. His photographs were often seen in the Mackinac Island Town Crier newspaper.

Upon the death of his father, Mr. Benjamin and his sister, Dorothy, donated their father’s blacksmith shop to the Mackinac Island State Park, where it continues to operate as part of the Mackinac Island State Park Historical Tour.

His grandmother was a founding member of the Little Stone Church on Mackinac Island in 1904, where Mr. Benjamin served as both treasurer and moderator for more than 40 years. Mr. Benjamin was a quiet, humble, and compassionate man throughout his life, family members said, as evidenced by his devotion to family and church.

He is survived by his wife, Beverly, of Petoskey and Mackinac Island; three children and their families, Thomas Robert and Mary Benjamin of Farmington Hills, Michael Herbert and Beth Benjamin of Dover, Maryland, and Jane Marie (nee Benjamin) and Glen Young of Petoskey and Mackinac Island, and eight grandchildren, Miles, Libby (nee Benjamin) and Brooks Gunderson, Audrey, Robert II, Graham, Samuel, Emily, and Laurel.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Benjamin was preceded in death by his sister, Dorothy.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 2, at 11 a.m. at Little Stone Church on Mackinac Island.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Little Stone Church, P.O. Box 513, Mackinac Island, MI 49757 or Mackinac Island Medical Center Fund, through the Mackinac Island Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1933, Mackinac Island, MI 49757.

Stone Funeral Home in Petoskey assisted the family with arrangements.

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