Hilda Elizabeth (Lacy) Benton
“Then the Son of Man will say: ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I as hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’”
Hilda Elizabeth (Lacy) Benton, wife of Edwin Ray Benton, left her earthly life Monday, March 28, 2011. She was 79 years old. Hilda was the first-born child of Steward and Mattie (Bailey) Lacy. Her parents and a great grandson preceded her in death. In addition to her husband, Edwin, Hilda is survived by their five children: daughters, Joyce Benton Joseph and her husband Phillip (of Salyersville), Lois Benton Lumpkins and her husband Raymond (of West Liberty), and Sandra Benton Castle (of Caney); and sons, Phillip Benton (of Rush), and Joe Benton and wife Karen (of Richmond); also by 14 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren; and by a sister, Carleen Steel (of Malone), a brother, Dan Lacy and his wife Nancy (of Fort Mitchell), and a special “sister,” Allene Bailey Fugate (of Chicago). Born in Morgan County, Kentucky, on July 29, 1931, Hilda spent her early years in Ohio, where her parents had traveled to find work. They moved back to Morgan County in 1945 to care for Hilda’s widowed grandmother. Cupid struck during Hilda’s early teen years when the beautiful cheerleader was smitten by a handsome basketball player, who would become her lifelong love and companion. Hilda and Edwin married in 1948, when she was 16 years old. The family grew rapidly-----Joyce was born when Hilda was 17, Lois when she was 18, Phillip when she was 19, Joe when she was 20, and Sandy when she was 22. Hilda quickly adjusted from cheering her basketball team to rooting for her new family. Hilda and Edwin built their home on the banks of Caney Creek in 1956, which is still the homeplace. The young family spent their days working, singing, playing and enjoying popcorn and tomato juice, homemade ice cream and Hilda’s famous donuts. Hilda became active in church at a young age and early committed her life to Christ, and was a long-time, dedicated member of the Caney First Church of God. Her many years as Sunday School teacher touched the lives of hundreds of young people, introducing many to their first experience with Christ (including several of her own grandchildren). Hilda was a lover of music. Her days of hard work were filled with singing her favorite hit songs of the day or old time gospels. She participated in church singings, and she organized dozens of youth Christmas programs. Hilda started public work in 1965 for Rural Child Care, and then worked as a compliance analyst for Kentucky Child Support Services until her retirement in 1996. For her superior service, she was honored as a Duchess of Hazard and commissioned an Honorary Citizen of the City of Hazard, Kentucky. Following retirement, Hilda and Edwin enjoyed many years together, traveling, eating, collecting books and family antiques, volunteering, gardening, attending church services, and helping their neighbors. Hilda was recognized by the Kentucky State Senate for her volunteer service to the Gateway Long-Term Care Advisory Council at the Morehead Office of Legal Aid. Those of us who knew Hilda Benton understand that she cannot be described without using the word “heart”. Hilda’s heart was open and kind and caring. The Morgan County community is a better and stronger place because she loved and served her neighbors. This is the hope that she invests in each of us ---- that we will do one better than was done before.