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Walter Benger Biography


Walter Benger
Birth Date: 12 Dec, 23
Death Date: 08 Nov, 00

Mayor: 1974-1982

While not technically the first Mayor of the newly incorporated Town of Eastport, Benger was elected Mayor after the Towns first Mayor, stepped down after less than two months in office. Benger was re-elected in 1977 and served until 1982.

Born @ Amherst Cove in 1923, the youngest of three sons born to Albert E. [1882-1937] and Jessie Ann [1886-1934] (daughter of Eli & Mary Jane Cole). Like many Newfoundlanders, before and since, Walter headed for Canada in search of employment and as a young man, was employed for awhile in Halifax before returning to Newfoundland c. 1945. After a short stint as a Cook with Bowaters, and Walter decided to try his fortunes in the growing Town of Gander.

He secured a position with the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), and his managerial skills were quickly recognized by the local business community, and he was engaged by both Goodyears and then Eaton's.

He later joined The Allied group of companies, where he spent many successful years, before becoming an independent Sales Agent for several major companies. His genuine interest in people, his always pleasant demeanor and his seemingly endless energy ensured that he would excel in this new challenge.

It was while working with BOAC that he met Bernice Viola Jane Powell, of Happy Adventure, who was working @ the old Laundromat in the airport town. They were married @ Amherst Cove in 1948, and the first of five children, Sheila, was born @ the Old Gander Hospital. She recalls being '... about 4 years old ...' when the Benger family decided to move to the Eastport Peninsula. They lived in the cove, Richard Quinton's house ..., while Walter continued to work in Gander.

With a growing family, the need for a place of their own became the couples main priority and the construction of a new dwelling in Eastport was a mutual effort, with Bernice and Walter working side by side to complete their new home, which still stands @ 77 Church St.

Always the entrepreneur, Walter built a small Variety Dry Good store in front of the Benger homestead. This building would undergo numerous changes over the coming years, and for a time served as the areas premier Hang-Out. And it was as the Hang Out that it would go down in local history one Sunday afternoon, as the site of Eastports first and only streakers. When the local meat market was offered for sale, Walter was quick to recognize the potential, and under his ownership and management the business thrived for a number of years until a daring robbery devastated the enterprise.
In later years, Walter continued to pursue his retirement with the vigor of a man half his age. He built a boat, which he continued to enjoy right up until his death on November 8, 2000. He will be remembered for his pleasant personality, his perseverance and his many contributions to this region, including being a Charter Lion. His wife wife Bernice, predeceased him on Feb 8, 1989.

SOURCES:
Annie Turner, Happy Adventure - Sister in Law Sheila Halfyard, Eastport - Daughter Bonavista Burials 1899-1973: Jessie Ann Benger Aug 26, 1934; age 47 - Albert E Benger Jan 11, 1937; age 54

SIBLINGS:
THOMAS - 1 son Harold; Windsor, NL� HAROLD - 1 daughter