Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Alumni Obituaries

John J. Benna

John Joseph Benna, 94, formerly of Terre Haute, Ind. and most recently of Fisher, Ill, died with his daughter and son-in-law by his side, following a brief illness.John was born May 13, 1917, in Terre Haute to Mike Benna and Elizabeth (Shagan) Benna. John GÇ£JohnnyGÇ¥ Benna grew up in Terre Haute and attended St. Meinrad Seminary for several years before finishing his senior year at Garfield High School where he played three sports. He was an accomplished athlete along with his brother Joe. At a time when boxing was as big as NCAA basketball is today, he boxed in the Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament in 1936, 1937, and 1938 and each year he reached the regional semi-finals in Chicago and ultimately won the event in 1938. He became the only Golden Glove Champion ever from Terre Haute, winning the 135lb weight class championship in front of 21,000 fans in 1938. He then fought on the Chicago Boxing team against the New York team at Madison Square Garden. He was an accomplished golfer who enjoyed playing, coaching, and watching golf.John served his country in the Air Force where he flew 41 missions during World War II and 43 missions during the Korean War, as a tail gunner, during which time he earned numerous medals. He retired after 20 years of honorable service.Most importantly, John was a devoted husband to his wife of 51 years Mary Theresa Benna who died in April 2008 and a loving father to his four children.Johnny had a brother and sister: Joe Benna who preceded him in death and Margie Salmon who lives in Terre Haute. Surviving children include: Frank M. Benna and wife Kathy of Pleasant Hill, Calif.; Mike T. Benna and wife Connie of Ozark, Mo.; Anita Marie (Benna) Martin and husband Gene of Fisher; and John J. Benna Jr. of St. Albans, W.Va.; 10 grandchildren: Stephen and Andrew Benna, Karen Bohannon, Brian and Jessica Benna, John J. Benna III, Elizabeth Tepper, Rose Mary Tepper, Abbey and Zach Martin, and three great-grandchildren, Logan, Nathan, and Alyssa Bohannon: and many nieces and nephews.John was a lifelong Catholic and a friend to all he met and will be dearly missed.From the Tribune Star.