Rev. Dr. Frank L. Benz, 86, of Loveland, Colo., formerly of Dubuque, Iowa, passed away on Monday, July 25 in Loveland, Colorado. Memorial services will be held on Saturday, July 30 at 4 pm at Trinity Lutheran Church, Loveland.
Frank was born on March 14, 1930 and raised on his parents’ ranch homestead in Dunn Center, North Dakota along with three sisters and eight brothers. He graduated from Wartburg College in 1954 with majors in German and New Testament Greek. During his years of study for ministry at Wartburg Theological Seminary (1954-1958) he was asked by the faculty to forego his year of internship to teach Beginning Greek and Hebrew for two years while completing his senior courses.
In 1958 he enrolled for graduate studies in the Department of Near Eastern Studies of The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. He and Joyce Schumann, an executive secretary in the home offices of the Kimberly-Clark Corp. in Neenah, WI, were married in 1959. In Baltimore she took a job at the McCormick Spice and Tea Co. as secretary to the treasurer.
Frank was called back to Wartburg Seminary in 1960, but given leave to complete his degree studies. His doctoral dissertation, Personal Names in the Phoenician and Punic Inscriptions, was published by the Pontifical Biblical Institute Press in Rome. It continues to be a valuable resource for scholars in the Semitic field of study.
At Wartburg Seminary, Frank taught biblical languages, Hebrew scriptures/Old Testament theology and a variety of courses in the curriculum. During his 33 years of ministry there, he also served as dean of students, interim dean of the faculty and director of the January course of studies that took some students off campus for engagement in parishes as well as overseas for international immersions. In his teaching years he led three archaeological excavations in Israel and the West Bank (Gezer and Tel-Hesi).
During retirement, Frank and Joyce traveled throughout the western states, teaching and giving lectures in churches. They had the blessings of living overseas, in Israel and in England. Frank and Joyce lead study tours to Egypt, Israel and Germany. In retirement, they took tours of most of the countries of Europe, as well as Alaska and Hawaii.
Frank had many interests and passions. Frank served as President of the Lutheran Retired Pastors Association of Northern Colorado; Dean of The Luther Academy of the Rockies. At Trinity Lutheran Church in Loveland, Frank was a member of the Choir, and served on the Urn Garden Committee and Call Committee. Frank also enjoyed wine making with friends, gardening, Bronze Age Archeology, Semitic Languages, cooking and being an incredibly involved grandfather. Frank had the ability to lighten up any room with his endless supply of jokes and precious charm. Those who knew him understood the warmth he gave off with every conversation and the attention he brought to every relationship.
Frank’s beloved wife Joyce passed away in 2010. Surviving are his sons Steven (Lynne) and Samuel (Elizabeth); grandchildren, Karl, Paul, Helene, Marty, Catherine and Julia. We all are honored to have been part of his fantastically impactful journey. His life was a brilliant light that and we will be hard pressed to live a life as meaningful as his. Although his presence is gone, we and many others will guard his precious memory in our hearts forever. Memorial contributions may be made to Wartburg Theological Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa and designated to the Frank and Joyce Benz Endowed Chair in Scripture.