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‘Beloved’ U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson Dies

Judge Dee Benson speaks at the investiture of Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells on Aug. 22, 2003, in his courtroom in the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The United States Court for the District of Utah announced the passing of District Judge Dee Benson Monday morning. He was 72.

A news release from the court called Dee “a brilliant jurist” and “beloved”. He was appointed to the bench by President George H. W. Bush in 1991.

“His warm and disarming demeanor often belied his stunningly keen intellect. Beyond his extraordinary legacy as a judge, it is simply not possible to adequately express the measure of Judge Benson’s personal impact on the lives of our court staff and his colleagues on the bench.  He transcended his office and, in many ways, transformed our court,” said a statement from Robert J. Shelby, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court.

Governor Gary Herbert said in a statement, “I am deeply saddened to hear of Judge Benson’s passing today. Judge Benson served the citizens of the United States respectfully and was an example of dedication and sacrifice. He was selfless and extremely knowledgeable. He was a great public servant and will be sorely missed by all who had the good fortune to serve with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dee’s family and friends as they mourn his passing.”

Former U.S. Senator Orrin G. Hatch released a statement through the Hatch Foundation. “Judge Dee Benson was an exemplary jurist, a sharp legal mind, and above all, a cherished friend. As a counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, he brought invaluable insight to the issues of the day, so much so that I asked him to serve as my chief of staff. Later, as a United States District Court Judge, he brought experience, wit, and wisdom to the federal bench—and a smile to everyone he knew. Dee’s heart was as big as his intellect, and it’s for his trademark kindness and humility that I will remember him most. He had a tremendous legal career, but most importantly, he had a rich and meaningful family life and was always there for his loved ones. My prayers are with the Benson family at this difficult time.”

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