Mr. Cafaris "Dick" Benham, 77, of Durham, North Carolina and formerly of Cartersville, Georgia passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, March 11, 2021.
A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 1:00PM at Mack Eppinger and Sons Funeral Home Chapel, 210 North Bartow Street. Interment will be on Friday, March 26, 2021 at 9:00AM at the Georgia National Cemetery, 2025 Mount Carmel Church Lane, Canton, GA 30114.
Due to COVID-19 regulations and guidelines, physical distancing practices will be in place, and MASK ARE REQUIRED for those that will be attending the service. The family is the main concern during this time of bereavement and space will be limited. We have to ensure the family is able to attend the service, so there is a possibility of some friends not being admitted . However, the service will be LIVE-STREAMED.
Cafaris Benham, aka "Dick" was born October 14, 1943 to Ruth Benham and William Johnson in Cartersville, Georgia. His boyhood until age ten was spent in the family's historic homeplace in the Mechanicsville neighborhood. Raised and educated in Chicago, Illinois, Cafaris graduated from Richard T. Crane High School. He also received extended college instruction from Loop University and Northwestern University.
Dick was a proud Marine, who answered the Call of Country during difficult years of the Vietnam War. Inducted at the Chicago Loop, he completed Recruit Training in San Diego. In his military career, Dick saw combat and rose from Private First Class to Marine Sergeant. He was Honorably Discharged from active Marines at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. Then he transferred to Reserve Status, reporting to Kansas City, Missouri as a General Clerk. Dick finally left military life with a partial disability from Agent Orange chemicals. This led to lifelong health complications.
After the Civil Rights years, Dick was an accomplished businessman and an advocate of economic expertise by African Americans. His employers included Polaroid Camera, American Standard, Trans World Airlines, United Airlines, and General Electric Company. Dick later became an Entrepreneur and formed his own Market Consulting Firm---CDB3 Enterprises. His career and networking activities were reported in Jet Magazine, the Pittsburgh Courier, Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Defender Newspaper.
Dick also led professional associations , and was Chicago Chapter President of the National Association of Market Developers. He Chaired its 400 Member National Conference at a then new Hyatt Regency Hotel on Chicago's Lake and Riverfront. Decades later, that same Hyatt hosted the Barack Obama Presidential Campaign on election night 2008--- when the candidate became President-Elect of the United States.
A singular achievement for Dick Benham was his 1973 appointment as Executive Director of the Chicago Cosmopolitan Chamber of Commerce, the largest intra-racial Business Chamber in the United States at the time. Dick's wide-ranging business life permitted many travel, political and community service opportunities. He visited many countries on every continent except the North and South Poles. His contacts in Chicago Operation PUSH and the Democratic Party included government officials, and state and national legislators. Dick also helped with fund-raising for the successful 1983 campaign of the 1st Black Mayor of Chicago, the late Honorable Harold Washington.
After business retirement, Dick moved in 2015 from Chicago to Durham, North Carolina. His late plans included an eventual return home to Bartow County, Georgia.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents; his beloved wife, Lemuria St. James-Benham; and siblings, Will Benham Venable, Ruth Ann Freeman, and Robert Benham.
Sibling survivors include, George Benham (Sarah), Hedy Benham Smith, and Cathy Laverne Freeman, Leon Benham Venable (Norma) of Zion, Illinois and Curtis Benham Shaw of Memphis, Tennessee. Special survivors of Dick include , sons, James Robinson and Christopher Torres (Rosa) of White Plains,New York. Their daughters are Ebonee and Iternity Robinson and Nisa and Alianna Torres.
As a member of the great BenhamNation, Dick leaves a host of nieces, nephews, extended cousins and in-laws. A very special Thanks to friend Michele Caldwell of Rockford, Illinois.
Condolences may be expressed at: www.mackeppingerfuneralhome.com
Mack Eppinger and Sons Funeral Service, Inc. are in charge of the arrangements.
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