Dr. Samson Adam Benjamin
OB-GYN delivered over 5,000 babies, proud Assyrian and Armenian, grandfather
Dr. Samson Adam Benjamin, 81, of Claremont, died peacefully with family by his side, after a prolonged illness on Saturday, January 20.
Samson is survived by his wife, Jeanne Evelyn Benjamin; and his children, Samson “Ben” Benjamin Jr (Marcella Zita) of Claremont, Arika Benjamin (Jesse Metzger), and Jake (Kate) Benjamin; and grandchildren Gina Gonzales, Mika Benjamin-Uyeki, Tadashi Uyeki Benjamin, Sasha and Shanton Metzger, and Adrian, Evelyn and Quinn Benjamin. He is also survived by his twin brother Samuel (Maria) Benjamin, and his sister, Leona Kelaita, as well as numerous beloved nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father Adam; his mother Margaret; siblings Adam Jr., Myron, Daniel, and Lilia Arzumenian; and brothers-in-law Jake Arzumenian and Johnson Kelaita.
He was born and raised in Gary, Indiana, the sixth of seven children. Growing up, he worked the cash register at his parents’ tavern and grocery store, where he frequently impressed patrons with his ability to add the total in his head before ringing it up. “Throughout his life, whatever work he set out to do, Samson was persistent, industrious and seemingly tireless,” his family shared.
He graduated from Merrillville High School, and then attended Austin Peay State College in Tennessee for his undergraduate studies. There, in 1963, he met Jeanne Durham. The two were married on July 29, 1967.
In 1969 he graduated from medical school at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis. He practiced as an OB-GYN for 32 years in the cities of Crawfordsville and La Porte, Indiana, and over the course of his career delivered more than 5,000 babies. He was accompanied in this impressive endeavor by his dedicated nurse practitioner and good friend, Janet Foglesong.
In addition to his medical practice, Dr. Benjamin, with his siblings, owned three Ace Hardware stores in northern Indiana. He also volunteered for the LaPorte Kiwanis international service club where he enjoyed streamlining the pancake production of the yearly pancake breakfast.
He was passionate about cars. As a child, he worked at his brother’s car washing business in Gary, where he would drive the vehicles back to their owners — although he was only 13 at the time. In his lifetime, he was proud to have owned a prize-winning 1956 Lincoln Premiere, a Foretravel Motorcoach, and his all-time favorite, a Lexus LS 400.
He loved travel and meticulously planned all his trips, including a three month excursion through Australia. He would enjoy Armenian music at full volume as he drove; as the tempo of the music increased, so would his driving speed.
He cherished time spent in the kitchen with his grandchildren who referred to him as “Babik.” With them, he baked pretzels, cardamom cookies, biscotti, and the labor- and butter-intensive Assyrian chada bread, of which his family members were frequent beneficiaries.
He was extremely proud of his Assyrian and Armenian heritage. One of his most fulfilling accomplishments was organizing and funding the construction of six homes through the Fuller Center for Housing for Assyrian refugees in Armenia.
After moving to Claremont in 2014, he had the pleasure and coincidence of meeting a fellow Assyrian, Marodeen Ebrahimzadeh, with whom he enjoyed many long conversations and developed a deep friendship.
“Samson was a loving husband, a devoted father, and a doting grandfather,” his family wrote. “His caring and generosity and quick wit will be dearly missed.”
A small service was held January 25 at St. Mary’s Assyrian Church in Tarzana.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice or to the Fuller Center for Housing at fullercenter.org, or by check to The Fuller Center, PO Box 523, Americus, GA 31709.