American Field

Lurner Oliver Benton, III Remembered

By Nell J. Mobley | Apr 04, 2019

Waynesboro, Ga. — Lurner Oliver Benton, III passed away peacefully on March 1 at age 76.

He was known in his hometown of Monticello, Ga., and Eatonton as “Brother.” Elsewhere, he was known as “L.O.”

His obituary read, “He loved to go to Waynesboro in Burke County, Georgia, the ‘Bird Dog Capital of the World.’” to see the field trials.

He and his wife, Nancy supported the Georgia Field Trial Association financially for many years. He never owned a bird dog. L.O. and Nancy always enjoyed a dinner of fried quail and gravy, grits and biscuits at Mobley’s Restaurant.

Please allow me to name two gifts. When my husband Lamar died in 1998, L.O. and Nancy made a sizeable contribution to the GFTA in his memory. In 2009, the stables at DiLane Plantation were condemned by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The Bentons came forward with a substantial gift to be used to construct new stables. Their stipulation was to have them named the “Lamar Mobley Stables.” They were dedicated in January 2010 with the signage that also depicted Lamar’s red hat.

L.O. was very successful in the banking business. Following his graduation from Oxford College of Emory University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, he returned to Monticello and worked for his father at the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Eatonton where he was president. Shortly after, his father became ill, and L.O. was faced with the challenge of running a significant financial institution at the young age of 32. Soon after, he combined another bank where his family had an interest and created a bank holding company, Putnam-Greene Financial Corporation. He later added two other banks that successfully survived when other community banks were struggling.

L.O. and Nancy had gotten hooked on field trials following a trip to the National Championship in Grand Junction. It was about 1985 when they made their first trip to Waynesboro. Lamar met them at the red light at the court house. Hee knew immediately that the persons pulling the four-horse trailer did not know where they were going. Where else would they be going in Waynesboro in January except to the Georgia Open Shooting Dog Championship? He led them to DiLane.

When Lamar returned home, he told me of the nice people he’d met. He further advised me that I needed to ride with them because they did not know very much about the sport. To clarify his request, Lamar knew that I was not one to ride back with those who could not keep up. I was riding to watch the dogs and did not engage in much conversation. A true friendship followed.

I shall never forget, about an hour and a half into the afternoon course, Nancy asked me how much longer it would be before we got back to the headquarters. My answer was about two hours. Well, they hung in there but appeared to be anxious to dismount.

The Bentons always rode well-groomed horses, had very elite saddles and sported proper riding attire. Their horse trailer could be an envy.

Until L.O.’s health failed, they came to ride in the trials every January. They also joined us in March at the Masters Open Shooting Dog Championship.

My friend will be missed by me as well as his many other friends. I will always remember the good times that we had together.

Two words can describe this southern gentleman — integrity and generosity. They best sum up L.O’s life.

A celebration of his life was held at the First United Methodist Church in Monticello. Entombment followed at Westview Cemetery.

In addition to his wife of 53 years, he is survived by his son Chip, daughter-in-law Stacy, grandsons Browning and Banks, granddaughter Beth Perry (Taylor) and great-granddaughters Olivia and Hadley Perry.

God bless you, L.O. May you rest in peace. Heaven is even a better place now that you have taken up residence.


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