Jonathon Lee Benson

October 26, 2019

Jonathon Lee Benson, 69, passed away on Saturday, October 26, 2019 surrounded by family.  Jon was born on August 17, 1950 and raised in Dayton, Ohio as the youngest of three boys to Charles Prue and Virginia Elizabeth Benson. He sang as the Featured Boys’ Soprano in the Dayton Rotary Boys Choir for three years, including in concerts around the world.
After graduating from Belmont High School in 1968, Jon attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he received his Bachelor of Arts in History in 1972. While studying at Miami, Jon met Teddi Lee Tegtmeyer on a blind date set up by his best friend and the two married in 1973.

Jon received his Ph.D in Political Science from Ohio State University in 1976 and moved his family to Charlotte, NC the next year to work for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. After three years on loan to the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C., Jon returned to Charlotte where he founded and ran the Ben Craig Center, a business incubator within the University that worked to help people start or grow their own business. He later began an international business incubator in Aachen, Germany, in conjunction with the one in Charlotte to provide opportunities for both German and American businesses to expand their market into the other country.

Jon retired from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 1997 to start his own private business. A few years later, Jon delved back into the world of economic and business development when the University of Wyoming recruited him to start a technology-focused business incubator there.  Jon worked with the University of Wyoming for thirteen years to develop and run three different business incubators across the state before he retired again and returned home to North Carolina.

Family was always the most important thing in Jon’s life, especially when it came to his role as a father. Jon proposed to Teddi on Mother’s Day, uniting them in a common dream early in their relationship to be parents. Jon’s children often heard about how much their father loved and talked about them each time he met a new person in his life.

He made a point to have a close and special relationship with each of his three children - Jennifer Elizabeth Benson Keinath, Amanda Katherine Benson, and Jonathon Charles Benson- as well as his niece and nephews. Jon was known to rarely miss a meeting or event when his children were in school and was always found cheering along the sidelines of their sports games and racecourses.
Jon and his family attended Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte for many years where he was an active member. He served as a deacon and developed a Faith Development Class, which he taught for many years and continues in some form today. Jon recognized faith as an important and life-long journey and found great joy in helping others discover and develop their own faith.
Jon was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, and their wives. He is survived by his wife, Teddi; children, Jennifer Elizabeth Benson Keinath and husband, Brad, Amanda Katherine Benson, Jonathon Charles Benson and wife, Elizabeth Rodgers Benson; two granddaughters; and several extended family members.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 PM on Friday, November 1, 2019 at Myers Park Baptist Church, 1900 Queens Rd in Charlotte.  The family will receive friends one hour prior to the service.  Interment will follow at Elmwood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Jon’s name to University of Wyoming, or Social Venture Partners, 1422 S. Tryon st. 3rd Floor, Charlotte, NC, 28203,

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

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  • Martin Agran

    Teddy: I am so sorry to hear about Jon’s passing. When I came across the obituary in the Laramie paper I was shocked, as well as others in the college I had shared this with. All things considered, I hope you are doing o’kay—my heart is out to you for this loss. Take care and of course feel free to contact me if you wish.

  • Mary Alice Bruce and John Stellern

    Dear Teddi, With great sorrow we read of John's passing. Thinking of you and your family, sending much love and light to you all.
    Love, Mary Alice and John

  • Sara Axelson

    Dear Teddi and family,
    Sending my sorrow, thoughts and prayers to you all. At UW, I always appreciated Jon’s kindness and gracious spirit. His innovative leadership I greatly admired.
    With deepest sympathy,
    Sara Axelson

  • Greg Jordan

    Barb and I wish to send our deepest sympathies for your loss. Jon was very special to us both and we will miss him.

    The time with him at the WTBC was among the best times of my working life. I will always remember the "wall walk" and each time I have a speaker and do that I will think of Jon. His contribution to the University's technology program and the Wyoming economy as a whole is immeasurable as was his contribution to my professional life. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you as you manage to move forward.

    In fondest memory,

    Greg Jordan and Barb Jordan

  • Rees Family of Laramie

    Our heartfelt condolences for your loss.

  • Carolyn Smith

    So sorry ti hear of Jon's passing. I worked with Jon years ago at the Ben Craig Center and remember him and those years fondly. He made the working enviroment great as he showed his encouragment to many small business helping them to succeed and grow. Will remember your family in prayers.