Ex-Times writer Charles Benbow dies

Published Jan. 29, 2003|Updated Aug. 31, 2005

Charles Benbow, best known for his coverage of the local arts scene during 19 years with the St. Petersburg Times, has died at 73.

Mr. Benbow, who retired in 1986, died Monday (Jan. 27, 2003) at home. The cause was a heart attack, said his daughter, Margot Mott.

"He was my mentor, although he would deny it," said Mary Ann Marger, who succeeded Mr. Benbow as art critic and retired last year.

"I had just a tremendous high regard for him. I greatly admired his instant insight into a work of art, something I always had to dig for."

After leaving the Times, where he also was the paper's architecture critic and wrote about television for a time, he shared his expertise with the Arts Center.

He oversaw a 1991 show by 25 contemporary Florida artists whose primary mode of personal expression was drawing. More recently, he was a co-curator of a 1997 exhibit of the paintings of acclaimed area artist Marion Beckett, whose works were on view in a retrospective at Eckerd College.

He went on to revise an inventory of her work for archiving at the Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.

A native of Moore Haven who grew up in Clewiston, Charles Clarence Benbow joined the Times in 1967, coming from the University of Florida, where he was a humanities instructor.

Earlier, he taught art and humanities in Duval County and worked as a television camera operator, art director and scenery designer for WJXT-TV, Jacksonville.

He had a bachelor's degree from UF and a master's degree from Florida State University.

For three years he served in the U.S. Navy at the Jacksonville Air Station.

His wife of 37 years, the former Lois Chandler of St. Petersburg, died in 1992. Other survivors include his companion, Jesse Trevino; a daughter, Claudia K. Benbow, Seattle; a sister, Shirley Causseaux, Clewiston; and five grandchildren.

National Cremation Society is in charge of arrangements.

_ Information from Times files was used in this obituary.