Covington resident Jeff Benton was described as a loving father and husband and a pillar of the community by those who knew him following his tragic passing Wednesday night.
“He was one of those folks who knew everybody…he was very approachable like that,” said Jeff Perkins, pastor at the Mansfield Baptist Church where Benton was a lifelong member.
“Once you met Jeff Benton you never forgot him,” he continued. “He was the type of person who stuck out. He enjoyed life and he enjoyed living it in this community.”
Perkins said Benton was a dedicated caretaker to his wife, Portia, and an active and generous member of the church. As deacon, Benton ministered to many families and served on a number of committees.
Newton County Chairman Keith Ellis also recalled Benton as a kind man with deep roots in the area.
"He was a wonderful man and a pillar of our community,” Ellis said.
Benton sustained fatal injuries after being struck by a vehicle near Henderson's Restaurant at the intersection of Hwy. 36 and Henderson Mill/Flat Shoals, a notoriously dangerous intersection.
Benton grew up in Mansfield and later moved to Covington, where he was the owner of Benton’s Welding Supply. The Hwy. 278 business was built in July 1964 to be an International Harvester Truck and Tractor Dealership and shifted to welding and supply in the late ’60’s.
Benton is survived by his wife and two children, Sydney and Jennifer, as well as their spouses.
“He always spoke so highly of his children; he was proud and excited about who they grew to be,” Perkins said.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Building Fund of the Mansfield Baptist Church