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August 19

Benson Male

On August 19, 1905, the Rev. W. Benson Male was born in Long Eddy, New York. At age 12 he and his family left the cultural East to live in the cowtown of Yampa, Colorado, after his sister Beatrice contracted tuberculosis. The hope was the dry, high mountain air would cure her disease.

As a teenager, Benson rode the range, tending sheep and herding cattle, and accompanied his physician father on house calls. He became influenced by the pioneer Jim Norvel, a gambler and wild man who was converted by the Lord and started building churches in Colorado. Norvel on his deathbed encouraged Benson to storm Routte County with the gospel, which the young man did. Ordained in the Yampa Bible Church at the age of 22, Benson became a circuit riding preacher, traveling to 15 different NW Colorado towns, first on horseback and later with his Model A. In 1933 he married Dee, a schoolmarm from the circuit town of Mt. Harris.

The young couple moved to Philadelphia where Benson taught and worked at the Philadelphia School of the Bible, and preached in Norristown. He took classes at Westminster Theological Seminary and was introduced to the Reformed Faith by Dr. Cornelius Van Til. Dr. Van Til said Ben Male was the hardest nut to crack as they debated and argued for five years, but Benson came to understand and love the Reformed Faith dearly. He was received as a minister in the OPC on May 16, 1938.

Benson and family returned to Colorado where he served as pastor of the inner-city Congregational Church which later became Park Hill OPC where he served for 18 years. He also started a summer camp, called Camp Chief Yahmonite, a nature and Bible camp near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Many professors from Westminster Seminary came as speakers at the camp. When Benson retired, he and Dee became OPC missionaries to Beirut, Lebanon and Egypt.

Benson and Dee were blessed with seven children, Jonathan, Ruth (Calvert), David, Mary (Wynja), Elizabeth (Van Abbema), Dorothy (Christoffels), and Susan (Lodge). Their son, Jonathan, sons-in-law, Neil Lodge and Richard Wynja, and grandson-in-law, Lane Tipton, all entered the gospel ministry in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Benson went to be with his Lord on January 17, 1982 at the age of 76.

Homepage: Dee and Benson Male

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