James Robert Benbrook — Feb. 1, 1939 - Feb. 7, 2014, a.k.a. Jim, Ben, Daddy, Dad, Dr. B, Spot, Patton, and PawPaw.
Jim was raised in and graduated from Royse City. He was an athletic young man who played many sports and co-captained the famous Bulldog football team of 1956. He married his high school sweetheart, Runette Smith, and matriculated at the University of Texas in Austin where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.S. in physics in 1961. While in Austin, his son, Jim Jr., was born in 1959, and two years later, while in Seattle, Wash., working for Boeing and furthering his education at the University of Washington, his daughter, Susan, joined the family.
After receiving his M.S. and Ph.D. in physics from UW, he returned to Texas and joined the University of Houston Physics Department. He was a well-respected member of the faculty for more than 35 years, serving as department chair twice, and on numerous committees and boards, including as faculty representative to the NCAA. He was known to be a tough professor who actually demanded you learn, and maintained close relationships with many of his graduate students throughout the years, even working with one at NASA later in life. In addition to teaching, he did extensive research — launching rockets and balloons from Canada to France to Sweden to Antarctica — and was widely published.
Although a multiple-degreed white-collar scientist, he was happiest outdoors, and maintained his love of sports throughout his life. He coached his son’s Little League teams and is remembered fondly by many as their “best coach ever.” He was an avid tennis player, and enjoyed rousing family matches on his court at home. He loved following football, and during the collegiate and professional seasons could often be found in front of the TV.
Jim was a handsome, arrogant, intellectual-redneck who thoroughly enjoyed teaching and loved to flirt. He was adored by many, respected by even more, and loved deeply by his family.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Freida Monette Settle.
He leaves behind not only his children and their mother, but also his beloved grandchildren, Alexandria Hailey Benbrook and Nicholas Maly Benbrook, of Oklahoma City, Okla., and McGillivray Abram Cox of Houston.
He will be greatly missed.
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Published on  February 20, 2014