Curt Bench Obituary
Our husband, father, grandfather and brother passed away unexpectedly on August 17, 2021. Curtis Allred Bench was born on November 17, 1952, the son of Gordon and Verdon Bench in Los Angeles, California. Growing up, one of his favorite things to do was to read the dictionary. When friends would go to the beach to surf he’d take a book instead. He was definitely born with a “why” chromosome that lasted throughout his life. Curt served in the Alabama-Florida mission. This is where he began his LDS book collection. Curt worked for and later managed stores for Deseret Book and in 1984 he opened the rare book department there. In 1987, Curt opened his own store, Benchmark Books, which continues today and has become a gathering place for Mormons of all stripes. Curt envisioned a religion that included beliefs across the spectrum, a true “big tent” proponent.
Curt’s wealth of knowledge and accomplishments are too numerous to count but he was passionate about words, books, limericks, humor and laughter, turquoise and especially people. He loved unconditionally and built bridges and offered his hand to any that struggled, with a listening ear and no judgment. We will miss him every time we look at a sunset, and miss his texts telling us to go look at the sky.
Curt graduated from BYU, where he met and fell in love with Patricia Gaffney Bench. They married and completed their eternal family with four children: son, Christopher Bench (Wendi), daughters, Brittany Poulton (George), Emily McLean (David), son, Landon Bench (Lex) and later came nine grandchildren with whom he was incredibly involved and devoted to: Rylie, Qhloi, Senator, Annapurna, Jasper, Eve, Poppy, Noah and Bliss. “Papa” will always be remembered for pushing them on the swing in the backyard, reading to and giving them an endless supply of books. They will miss coming through the door and having their Papa sneak up on them and giving them a big surprise. He encouraged his children to be educated and work hard. He often joked all of his children worked for him or at least were employed by him to help them earn their way through college.
Also survived by his brother Dennis G. Bench (Aileen) and his mother-in-law Betty Glad.
Curt was a member of the Utah Westerners, Mormon History Association, Sunstone Education Foundation, John Whitmer Historical Association, Utah Historical Society (Honorary Life Member) as well as his beloved Friday lunch group, The Latitudinarians.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Ken and Al Bench and his father-in-law, Bruce D. Glad.
We will honor Curt’s life in conversation on Tuesday, August 24 at the East Millcreek Stake Center located at 3103 E. Craig Drive, from 6 to 8 p.m. and again on Wednesday, August 25 from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. at the same address. Funeral services will be held at 12 p.m. Curt was a germaphobe so don’t forget to wear your mask.
Interment at Elysian Burial Gardens, Salt Lake City, Utah.
I grew up in a world of books with my dad, Curt, showing me the way and that eventually led to many years around the bookstore. I had an amazing college experience at Utah State University (Go Aggies) where I had the opportunity to work in the incredible Special Collections there. I also had a few helpful stints working for Deseret Book in Logan before starting full-time at Benchmark Books in January of 2001.
The best discovery I made in Logan besides a few delicious foods that I still crave (cheese curds from Gossners Foods and anything from Old Grist Mill) was my wife, Wendi. We met at a bonfire during my last semester and were married in 2002. We have two adorable kids, Qhloi (11) and Senator (9). We still love Logan and bonfires.
Since Bryan gets shaky if he’s away from books for too long, he was very happy to join the Benchmark team in 2008. He is the new book buyer as well as the face you usually see walking in the front door. He is a particularly proud graduate of the University of Utah–his degree in Hebrew was intended to be used in CES but he quickly realized that he hated that. In his second life, he is the co-host of the Sunstone History Podcast with Lindsay Hansen Park. Bryan edited the essay volume Continuing Revelation: Essays on Doctrine (published by Signature Books) and has about a million other projects in the works...