Leonard Benhart of Clive, formerly of Cedar Rapids, passed away at Silvercrest at the Woodlands Retirement Community in Clive on April 6, 2018, at the age of 94. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, April 13, at Cedar Memorial Park Chapel of Memories, 4200 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, with a brief visitation at 10:30 a.m. before the ceremony. Burial will take place at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery. Cedar Memorial Park Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Leonard was born in rural Oxford Junction, Iowa, on June 22, 1923. His parents were Otto and Mary Benhart. He was the eighth of nine children and the last to survive. He grew up on the family farm. He loved sports and played baseball and basketball at Oxford Junction High School. He and his brother, Merle, were outstanding athletes and played on many teams together. They both attended the University of Iowa. They left college to serve in the military during World War II. Leonard was in the U.S. Army and served in New Guinea and Leyte Island, Philippines.
After the war, Leonard returned to Cedar Rapids, where he began working at Iowa Manufacturing Co., builder of road equipment such as asphalt plants and rock crushers. He played baseball for the company in the M&J League. He met Cherry, the love of his life, at Iowa Manufacturing and they married. They were big Chicago Cubs and Iowa Hawkeye fans. They loved to go to dances. Leonard also officiated girls and boys high school basketball and football for many years. He worked many state finals in Des Moines. He was inducted into the Iowa Officials Hall of Fame in Des Moines in 1994.
Leonard retired from Iowa Manufacturing after many years. He was superintendent of quality control for much of that time until retirement. Len and Cherry lived in Cedar Rapids, until moving to Clive in June 2012.
Leonard is survived by his three sons, Kenneth (Karen) of West Des Moines, Gary of Pittsburgh, Pa., and Randy of Smyrna, Ga. He also is survived by nine grandchildren, Jennifer Edelheit (Eric) of Glenview, Ill., Michelle Rodemyer (Tom) of Ankeny, Rob Benhart, Bryan Benhart and John Benhart of Pittsburgh, Matt (Kathrine) Benhart of Denton, Texas, and Stephanie (Robert) Wallace, Jon Benhart and Rachael Benhart of the Atlanta, Ga., area. He also is survived by eight great-grandchildren, Caroline Edelheit, Josh Edelheit, Evan Rodemyer, Adelyn Rodemyer, Bailey Benhart, Riley Benhart, Sophia Wallace and Mateo Benhart.
Leonard was preceded in death by Cherry in 2016. He was also preceded in death by his parents and his siblings, Louie, Ed, Otto Jr., Mildred (Berner), Fred, Raymond, Merle and James.
The family wishes to express their appreciation to Silvercrest at the Woodland's entire staff for their kind care over the last six years and to the UnityPoint Hospice team for their recent professional care and compassion.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.cedarmemorial.com.