Leslie James Benson was born January 24th, 1935 in Rosebud, Texas to the late Leslie Benson and Annie Lee (Best) Benson. He was the second of two children. The family moved to Dallas, Texas where Leslie James attended B.F. Darrell Elementary (Kindergarten -8th grade) and Booker T. Washington High School (9th to 12th grade). He excelled in a variety of sports including baseball, basketball, football, and track. He received a football scholarship from Wiley College where he played fullback and participated in games such as the State Fair Classic at the Cotton Bowl.
He married Barbara Jean Williams in 1954 with whom he had four sons: Leslie W., Anthony, Michael, and Rodney. In 1960, Leslie moved his family to California where he continued his education and received an Associate of Arts Degree and worked diligently for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He retired early and became an avid golf player and enthusiast.
Leslie James actively participated with the Community Coalition of South Los Angeles, a non-profit social justice organization that works to change social and economic conditions by focusing on addiction, crime, and violence within the community. Leslie served as resident leader of the Kings Estates neighborhood, and he sought to improve community parks and neighborhoods. He has been recognized by the Community Coalition for his dedication, service, and commitment to his community. Leslie had a positive impact on the youth of the community, and was well respected among his peers.
Leslie James loved his family, his community, his camera, and of course gold. He stressed the importance of education and being a strong and positive influence in the lives of children. He was very giving whether it was clothes, shoes, food, money, or time. He celebrated the achievements of his family and captured wonderful moments with his camera. He often expressed pride in his family and community, and his words of encouragement shall ring forever in the ears of those he loved.
Leslie James transitioned from this world to the next while peacefully sleeping on the night of June 20th. He was preceded in death by his son Stephen Nicolas. He is survived by his wife, Barbara Benson, his sister, Patsy Ruth Benson-Marlow, his brother-in-law, Rev. Willie Williams, his sister in law, Philura Williams, his sister-in-law Tommie Mae Sherman, his children, Donald, Leslie W., Anthony, Michael, Rodney, Lisa, Alecia, and Stan, his over 30 grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, a few great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, cousins, a host of friends and golf buddies and his two beloved dogs Bailey and Skipper.