All of us at Eastern Sierra Land Trust are saddened to report the loss of our dear friend and conservation partner, Herb Benham.
Herb grew up in Southern California, and was an impressive tennis player throughout his life. He served his country, joining the US Marine Corps as a combat interpreter in 1942. After the war he attended the University of Arizona on a tennis scholarship, and met his wife Phyllis on the tennis court. They married in 1950, and soon after moved from Santa Barbara to Bakersfield, where they raised their family and Herb established Berrenda Mesa Farms – which grew into one of the largest almond and pistachio ranches in California.
After retiring to Mammoth Lakes in the late 1980’s, Herb and Phyllis became active members of the Eastern Sierra community. Herb soon came to know several founding members of Eastern Sierra Land Trust; with his passion for this rugged land and a desire to protect it, he served on ESLT’s Board of Directors for five years. Herb passed away on June 15, 2016 at the age of 91.
“Herb was one of the most special friends I have ever known. He loved people and always made you feel as if you were the most important person in his life.
He was totally dedicated to his family – 6 children and their spouses, 18 grandchildren, and one great grandson – and oh how they loved him. Fourteen of them spoke emotionally about him at the community celebration of his life, held June 26 in Mammoth Lakes.
Herb had an irrepressible sense of humor that was always on display and could lift the spirits of any individual or group, even in challenging circumstances. He was a board member of ESLT from 2005 to 2010 and gave outstanding support to our work during that period and in the years following.
He served several other organizations here in the Eastern Sierra, including many years as a key board member for Chamber Music Unbound. CMU recognized his service several years ago with a special award.
Herb was an outstanding citizen of the Eastern Sierra for the last 30 years. I and many others miss him deeply.”
~Tony Taylor, ESLT Board Member Emeritus
For more about Herb Benham’s life and accomplishments, Click Here to read a moving tribute written by his son, Herb (pictured together below).