Benjamin Walker Fenton

Benjamin Walker Fenton, Jr., age 101, of Midlothian, VA, and formerly of James City County, went to be with the Lord on March 7, 2024. 

He is survived by his daughter Renae F. Hedrick, son-in-law Thomas B. Hedrick, daughter-in-law Jill M. Fenton; grandchildren Christopher T. Hedrick, Jennifer H. Divers (Brandon), Hannah Grace Fenton; great-grandchildren Stella Bradley, Hudson Divers, and Sheppard Divers; and nephew Glenn Holloway (Belinda).

Ben was welcomed into Heaven by his wife of almost 67 years, Anne Ward Fenton; his son Benjamin W. Fenton III; and sisters Odell Fenton Millar and Hazel Fenton Roman.

Ben was born in Elizabeth City County on December 3, 1922, and raised in the Hilton Village area of Newport News. After attending Newport News Apprentice School, Ben was drafted into the United States Navy and served on the USS Midway from 1944 until he was honorably discharged in 1946. Ben was a fire control officer, 3rd class.

He attended Utah State from 1950-1954, graduated with a Forest Management degree, and was awarded a scholarship to Yale University for a master’s in forestry management.

He married the love of his life, Anne Trueheart Ward of Newport News, in 1948 in Newport News. In 1958, he began his career in forest management with the Department of Agriculture and worked in numerous national forests from California to Virginia and Florida to West Yellowstone, Montana.

From 1982 to 1987, Ben became a self-employed inspector for various insurance agencies. In 1987, his career transitioned to being a watershed inspector for eight major reservoirs in the City of Newport News, VA, until he retired at 80 in 2002. 

Ben enjoyed gardening, listening to Sunday church service, sitting outside on the porch, Sunday dinners with his daughter and son-in-law, taking his grandsons to the playground, and sharing milkshakes. 

The family would like to thank Ben’s caregivers of many years, Sam Minter, the Brandermill Woods staff, and the Bon Secours Community Hospice House staff.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Heart Association.

A celebration of life for Ben, complete with military honors, will be held at the mausoleum in Peninsula Memorial Park, 12750 Warwick Blvd, Newport News, 23606, VA, on Tuesday, March 12, at 1:00 PM. A reception will follow the service. Arrangements are in the care of Peninsula Funeral Home.


  1. Kate Barrett

    Thanksgiving will not be the same without him. I’m certain Anne and Molly were waiting with bells on to welcome him home.

  2. Sabra Decker

    Beautiful service for a life well lived. We will all miss Ben. Our family was very blessed to have him all these years.

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