RAY THOMAS BENSON
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Ray Thomas (Tom) Benson, SR/WA, a
dedicated International Past President of the IRWA and long-time President of Universal Field
Services, Inc. Tom was born on October 20, 1933 in Oklahoma City, OK. On July 21, 2019, Tom
passed away at the age of 85.
Tom joined Universal Field Services, Inc. in 1959 and served as Universal’s Executive Vice
President before becoming President in 1983. He retired in 2009 after 50 years of service to
Universal. Tom joined the IRWA in 1959 and was instrumental in chartering Chapter 3. He
served in every Chapter, Region and Executive position, including Chapter 33 President, Vice
During his time as Chair of the International Education Committee, he visited many states to charter new Chapters, induct
officers and promote education. He assisted in course development and played an active role in creating the Right of Way
International Education Foundation. In 1984, he received the Louise L. & Y. T. Lum Award in honor of his distinguished
contribution to education for the right of way profession. For his dedication to the Association and his undeniable legacy,
Tom was recognized in 2004 with IRWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Later in 2012, Tom was honored at the Annual
International Education Conference Awards Luncheon for 50 years of consecutive conference attendance, and he was
presented with a Lifetime Membership. Tom will be forever remembered as a pillar of excellence and a dear friend of the
Tom is survived by his wife Camille Maureen (Lay) Benson; sister-in-law Lou MacGregor Benson; son Steve and wife
Sherry; and son Doug. He also leaves behind three grandchildren: Dr. Molly Benson DuBois and husband Colin DuBois,
Patrick Benson, and Hailey Benson. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made in Tom’s name to the
RONALD (RON) JULIUS MINNICH
Ron was born December 9, 1933 in Roselle Illinois to Rose Rusch and Reuben Minnich. He entered into
Heaven on May 13, 2019, surrounded by his devoted wife and loving daughter.
At the age of 17, the Independence Browns recruited Ron to become a pitcher in the KOM League, which
was a minor league farm team system based in Independence, Kansas. This participation provided Ron with
a fortunate opportunity to procure a position with Sinclair Oil in the Right of Way Department. A lifelong
career was born of the employment. He was asked to join Service Resources, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. As the
Executive Vice President, he was able to participate in the major cross country pipeline expansion projects.
In October, 1977, Ron was offered the Presidency of the firm and served in this capacity until 1982. In 1984, he joined a past
associate and assisted in the founding of TEA, Inc. In 1998, he founded Land Specialist, Inc., a thriving company under his
leadership. Ron was a man respected by his clients and peers for his knowledge, business acumen and honest gentle leadership.
He was a long time member of the IRWA, where he was well respected and revered. Many associates and clients will miss his
intellect, knowledge, quick wit, genuine interest in their lives and the he lessons taught.
He is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Saundra; daughter Mitzi Ritchie (Mike); grandsons Brandon Ritchie and Adam
Sherer; sister Diane Minnich Kassal; sister-in-law Cheryl (Cooky) Hall; the beloved Spike; as well as Kimberly Teesateskie (Gary)
and daughter Brianna; and Michael Falk (Christine) and sons Noah and Jonah.
IRWA Member Farewell