“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear…”
Jasper Robinson Benton was born May 16, 1954, in Norphlet, Union County, Arkansas to the late Melzona and Rebecca Robinson-Benton. He was the seventh of thirteen children, a baker’s dozen. Jasper loved sharing the memories of growing up with his eight brothers and four sisters on Shady Grove Road. From getting up on cold winter mornings before daylight to fetch the cows that had wandered from home to the boys battle scars of living in the country without a lot of toys.
In the fall of 1970, Jasper met Linda Dianne Reynolds, after nine years of courtship, Jasper decided to ask her to be his wife. They were married March 17, 1979 at Lee Chapel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, El Dorado by Reverend Ezell Charles. To this union two children, Jasmond Roshard (JR) and Amanda Louise were born.
After graduation from Norphlet High School in 1973, Jasper enrolled at Henderson State University (HSU) where he earned his Bachelors of Science and Master's Degree in Health and Physical Education. To help fund his Master’s degree he was the first African-American Graduate Assistant in the Health and Physical Education Department. While attending Henderson State he was also a member of the Reddie’s football team as a linebacker. In 1974, Jasper and the rest of HSU Reddie’s football team won the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes (NAIA) Division II Championship. In 1975, the Championship team was honored by playing four exhibition games in Europe: Mannheim, Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Germany and Paris, France. In 2011, Jasper and his teammates were inducted into the Henderson Stat es University Sports Hall of Fame.
“Many are called but few are chosen.” In Spring of 1974 Jasper Robinson Benton was initiated into Theta Alpha Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraterity, Incorporated. As a dedicated LIFE MEMBER, he has served in many chapters in numerous positions. Jasper was a Charter Member of the Hot Springs Arkadelphia Malvern Alumni Chapter where he served as president. During his presidency, he and the chapter hosted the 2011 Southtwest Province Meeting where he was recognized for his leadership.
When he was not in classes or practicing football, Jasper was participating in the Army Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC).
Upon graduation from Henderson State University in 1978, he was commissioned as a US Army Second Lieutenant. Jasper completed thirteen years of service and retired as a Major from the United States Army. His tours of duty included Germany, Korea, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. He is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. He received the following medals for valor and service: The Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal and the Saudi/Kuwait Liberation Medal (Operation Desert Storm). Other service Awards include: Air Force Reserve Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon, Air Assault Badge and Army Lapel Button.
Jasper was employed by the Arkadelphia Public School District for over 28 years. He served as a coach of many sports, including football, basketball, track and tennis. He also taught social studies, history, health and PE. Coach Benton, served as a teacher in the Alternative classroom for several years.
Being raised in a home with strong Christian values, Jasper was baptized at an early age by Rev. J.H. Rowe at New Providence Baptist Church El Dorado, Arkansas. Jasper said, “Many days we walked through pastures and across creek beds, to get to Sunday School.”
After returning from Germany, he was stationed at Fort Sill Oklahoma. For the next six years he and his family united with Barnett Chapel AME Church, Lawton, Oklahoma in 1982. He was a faithful member of the Young Adult Usher Board, the Gospel Choir and Sunday School. In 1989 he was transferred to Fort Campbell Kentucky to be a part of the 101st Airborne Division. Here he was very active in the Community Chapel Gospel Service. From 1992 until his death he served at St. Paul AME, Arkadelphia. He was a Trustee, Member of Male Chorus, Lay Organization, Church School and Sons of Allen president. In 2017, Jasper R. Benton was recognized as a “Mighty Man of Mission” because of his selfless service to the Youth Department. Throughout Jasper’s service to this country, he always found time to serve the Lord.
Jasper was also an activities coordinator for United for Youth, an umbrella organization for Men United. This mentoring organization’s mission was to help develop positive character in young men.
He was preceded in death by his parents, paternal grandparents, Willie and Sarah Logan-Benton and his maternal grandparents, Henry and Aurora Robinson and Everteen Robinson; his brothers Wardell and Grover Benton.
He leaves to cherish his memories, His wife of nearly 42 years, Linda Dianne Reynolds-Benton of the home, his son Jasmond Roshard Benton of Arkadelphia, and daughter Amanda Louise Benton of Little Rock, Arkansas; six brothers, Keith (Quinn), Robert Ellis (Travina), of Detroit, Michigan, Hardy and Ira (Jo) of El Dorado, Arkansas, Reuben (Angela Reedy) of Winona, Texas and Kenan Wynn (Wanda) of Los Angeles, California; four sisters Judy Benton-Harris (Robert) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Iran Benton-Smith of Keller, Texas, Suzette Benton Collier (Joe) and Virginia Benton-Williams. He also leaves a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Submitted by The Benton Family
A walk-through visitation will be held on Friday, January 15, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. at St. Paul AME Church. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic all guests must provide a temperature check, register and wear mask before entry. Please pay your respects and leave so others may enter the facility.
A service of life and remembrance for family and friends will be held at Rest Haven Memorial Gardens, AR-8, Arkadelphia at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 16, 2021 with Rev. T. W. Scott, eulogist and Dr. Lewis A. Shepherd, Jr., officiant.
In lieu of flowers, you may make donations to the Jasper Benton scholarship at Patterson Credit union and or the American Heart Association in his name.