[Marin County Obit Board]

Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Saturday, September 08, 2007 at 04:34:50 :

Marin Independent Journal
Friday, January 28, 1994
Section B, page 2

Tam High coach

Services are tomorrow for Glidden R. Benefield, a high school teacher and coach in Marin County for more than 40 years.

The 91-year-old Santa Rosa resident died in his home Jan. 24. His health declined after a stroke five years ago.

Mr. Benefield started teaching at San Rafael High School in 1927. Two years later he moved to Tamalpais High in Mill Valley, where he taught until 1968.

At Tamalpais High he taught history, algebra, vocational guidance and physical education. He coached football, track, cross country and basketball. Benefield Hall on the Tamalpais High campus is named in his honor.

“I’ve taught 41 years, and that’s enough,” Benefield, then a Tiburon resisdent, told the Independent Journal in 1968. “There’s lots of other things for a man to do before he gets too old.”

At age 65, Benefield promptly set about doing those things.

He took a backpacking trip to Wyoming’s Wind River Range and another at the 10,000-foot elevation in the Sierra. He did a lot of fly fishing in New Zealand, spear fishing in Fiji, and air-gun spear fishing in Morea.

In Tahiti he snagged a 180-pound tuna while deep-sea fishing. He also fished in Canada, Alaska, Ireland and parts of the United States.

Benefield was known as the dean of track and field coaches, but all his teams had excellent records. They won 93 championships.

After his 1947 Tam varsity team won the championship, he retired from football to concentrate on track and cross county. “Benny’s Boys” as they were called were annual track champions of the old North Bay League.

He was inducted into the Marin Athletic Foundation’s High School Hall of Fame in 1988.

The Tennessee native moved with his family to California as a teenager. He attended Red Bluff High School and was an athlete. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1926 and earned his master’s there in 1938. He moved to Santa Rosa in 1975.

He was married 55 years to Erma Moore Benefield, who died in 1982. His second wife, Eleanor Davis Benefield, died two years ago.

He is survived by a son, James R. Benefield of Santa Rosa; a daughter, Carol Carey of Greenbrae; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

The memorial services starts at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Santa Rosa Memorial Park, 1900 Franklin Ave., Santa Rosa.

Memorial contributions may be sent to Cystic Fibrosis Research, Inc., 560 San Antonio Road, Palo Alto, 94306.

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