Weldon Howard Benham
Weldon was born 3 miles east of Okeene on the “Jones Place” on July 13, 1924. He has seen many changes through his 94 years from plowing behind a horse to GPS combining and farming! He was a farmer/rancher all his life and his last cattle roundup was at the age of 88 when he “retired”. He married his high school sweetheart Ruth Eberhart on May 6, 1944 at their preacher's home and they were married for almost 61 years, until Ruth passed in 2005.
Weldon graduated from Okeene High School in 1942; both he and Ruth were very accomplished athletes and had their first date on a hayride with Weldon's tractor pulling the trailer. Weldon attended OSU for one semester and decided college was not for him, he wanted to be back on the farm.
Weldon accepted Jesus Christ as his savior when he was 13 at the First Baptist Church in Okeene. Weldon said many times he was so thankful that his parents, Howard Allen Benham and Opal Florence McNulty Benham raised him in a Christian home. One of his favorite verses was Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:11.
Weldon spent a short time in the Navy in 1944 as an engineer on the destroyer, USS Dyess..... His ship left from San Francisco and was in the Pacific theater. He saw Hiroshima after the bomb and completed his military service shortly after the end of WWII.
Weldon and Ruth lived east of town on land adjacent to the “home place” that Weldon's grandpa William Lincoln McNulty claimed in the 1889 Land Run. They had 6 children. Weldon was on the Board of the Okeene Farmers Cooperative for many years. He worked for Southard Gypsum company and Arkla Gas Co for a few years while his family was growing. He farmed wheat until 1976 when he and Ruth and the two younger children, Keith and Cindy moved to Vinita Ok to help Weldon's parents with the cattle business. Keith currently lives on the Benham home place at Vinita and continues the cattle business. Weldon has been a member of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association for over 65 years. Mark continues to farm wheat on the family farm east of town with help from his son Mark Allen, and grandson Kyle Benham.
Weldon's favorite thing to do was to be with family. On his 94th birthday his family celebrated his life at his nephew and niece's (Chris and Tina Hladik) home and he was surrounded by family enjoying every minute of it!! He would always say “It does my old heart good to watch everybody and see how everyone gets along and has fun and there's no fighting or arguing.”
Weldon's surviving immediate family are Mark Howard Benham, Okeene; Pat Benham Barton, Miami, Ok, Cathy Benham Sheffert (husband Shannon), Stillwater Ok; Cindy Benham Stemple, Stillwater, Ok; Weldon Keith Benham, Vinita, Ok. He has 13 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren and 2 on-the-way. JoAnn Benham Hladik, Hennessey, Ok, oldest daughter preceded him in death in 2012.
Funeral services for Weldon will be held Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 2:00 P.M. at the First Baptist Church in Okeene, Oklahoma with Pastor Gaylon Cox officiating. Burial will follow in the Parvin Cemetery in Okeene, Oklahoma