Gary Benson, 72, of Fort Collins, Colorado, passed away peacefully with his sons by his side, on December 6, 2019 in Windsor, Colorado.
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Gary Benson was born in Rochester. MN on September 13, 1947 to Clifford & Lenora (Jensen) Benson. After graduating from high school Gary enlisted and proudly became a United States Marine. He spent 4 years in the corps, serving in Vietnam. Upon his return to the US, he started a family and had two sons, Shannon (born 1971) and Corey (born 1973).
While living in MN Gary worked for D&R Star Vending, which eventually led him into the world of billiards. He was one of the first league coordinators for D&R Star, and helped in the creation of the VNEA Pool leagues with Dick Hawkins. While working in Rochester, Gary also owned and operated Gary n Jo’s Place, a small tavern in Pine Island, MN.
In the early 80's Gary moved to Fort Collins, Co and started his own vending route and trucking business, High Country Promotions. In addition to operating local vending routes, his promotions company traveled throughout the United States with semi-trailers of coin operated pool tables. High Country Promotions would set-up these tables and run tournaments for various clients and organizations including Las Vegas, NV which was one of the largest tournament venues during the calendar year. Today the company continues to promote and run billiard tournaments all over the world, and is now owned and operated by his son Shannon Benson.
Gary continued to be bar and tavern owner in Colorado, owning and operating a local pool hall next to the college called Match -Ups (previously J. Watson’s). This pool hall helped to establish a well- founded billiard scene in and around Northern Colorado that continues to thrive today. After the sale of Match-Ups, Gary split his time between Las Vegas and Colorado. In Las Vegas he purchased and ran Bugsy’s, a local tavern off the beaten path. He continued to operate and grow the promotions business.
In the remaining years of his life, Gary enjoyed visiting Thailand with friends and family. It was here he retired to early in 2019. Gary was a true icon and champion in the amateur pool and billiard world. He helped build the foundations for many of the leagues and tournaments that still are going strong today.
He will be missed by many people; from all walks of life. Gary was a kind, warm-hearted gentleman who was always there to help in anyway he could. May he rest in peace
Gary is survived by his sons, Shannon (Janice) & Corey (Allen) Benson; grandchild, Addison Benson-Rathbun; brothers, Jim (Charlene) & Lee Benson; stepmother, Janette Benson; and a large loving extended family.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and sister, Jean Hunt.
An inurnment will be on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 at 11:15am at Fort Logan National Cemetery, 4400 W Kenyon Ave, Denver, CO 80236.
A Celebration of Life will follow at Match Ups Pool Hall & Grill at 625 S. Mason Ave, Fort Collins, Colorado, at 4:00pm.