J. Louis Benson ’41 Inducted 1996

Baseball, Gymnastics, and Swimming & Diving

J. Louis Benson

A member of three conference championship teams in both swimming and baseball in the late 1930's, Louis Benson is one of a very select group of Gustavus athletes to have earned 12 letters. In swimming, Benson swam sprints and was a diver on the MIAC Championship teams of 1938-40. While on the baseball team, he was a pitcher on the 1938-40 championship teams before moving to catcher on the '41 squad which finished second in the MIAC.
In gymnastics, Benson was part of four squads that enjoyed great success at the Northwest Meet, which was the premier gymnastics meet in the region during this era. In 1941, Benson was awarded the Schleuder Medal, which was presented to a senior who excelled in athletics, scholarship, and campus leadership.
After graduating with a double-major in biology and physical education, Benson spent the summer of 1941 playing professional baseball with Crookston in the Northern League and then returned to Gustavus in the fall to teach in the physical education department while also coaching the swimming, gymnastics and baseball teams.
A year of coaching and teaching at Gustavus was followed by a three-year stint in the Navy. After his service in the Navy, Benson continued a lifetime of devotion to teaching and coaching, ending up as a superintendent of schools in Watertown, Minnesota, where he retired in 1979. Louis and his wife, Adeline, had four children, Donald, Susan ('68), Thomas and James.