Jennifer Minnette Benson-Hughes

 United States

  • Date Of Birth: April 10, 1979
  • Date Of Death: April 19, 2019
  • City: Abington
  • State: Pennsylvania

Jennifer Minnette Benson-Hughes of Okeechobee, Florida passed away on April 19, 2019. Born on April 10, 1979, in Abington, Pennsylvania to George C. Benson and Joyce M. Serhus Benson, Jen grew up in Paw Paw, West Virginia, in the Appalachian Mountains that she cherished throughout her life.

Jen was a loving mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. A gentle, kind person, she had a smile that lit up the room. To meet her was to love her; to be met by her was to be loved by her. She saw the good in everyone she knew.

Since childhood, Jen had a special love for animals, people, and nature. An advocate for all creatures and their habitats, she earned a degree in animal husbandry from the University of West Virginia and pursued a career with the Florida Park Services, where she was employed for more than a decade, spending many years working at Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park as a ranger and then an environmental scientist. There she earned the nickname Prairie Jen. She was a trusted and beloved member of the ranger community, much admired for her commitment and skill, particularly on the fire line. Jen was also known for her advocacy for the Florida grasshopper sparrow, the dark-skies movement, and as an accomplished photographer.

Jennifer was preceded in death by her aunt Karen McKelvey; grandparents August and Gertrude Benson and Ruth and Larry Serhus.

She is survived by her son Benson; her parents; siblings George “Charlie” Benson Jr. (Sue Ellen Franklin-Benson), Kevin (Ruth), Wayne (Vickie Householder); nieces and nephews, George C. III, Lillian, Kevin II, and Amanda; aunts and uncles, Frank and Betty Benson, Linda Hawley, Gloria Martin, Diane Serhus, Lowell and Judy Serhus; as well as her many friends in the park services, in West Virginia, Florida, and elsewhere.