On July 24, 2012, Peter J. Benson of Columbia, MD passed away after a valiant battle with head and neck cancer.
Born 1954 in Bradford England, Peter was the adopted son of the late Joseph and Peggy Benson.
Peter pursued a variety of professional interests, but most enjoyed his work as a singer, songwriter and entertainer.
He was a regular performer at the Maryland Renaissance Festival for many years and recorded 2 albums with the band Cornucopia.
Peter was the author of the poetry book “The Cat’s Ankle”.
He was also a key player and supporter of the Howard County Darts Association.
In addition to Karen Keane, his loving wife, Mr. Benson survived by his son, Joseph Benson and former wife, Diane Benson.
He is also survived by his siblings, Janet, James and Julie Benson and their families; his mother-in-law, Frances M. Keane; brother-in-law, William Keane and his wife, Ann; sister-in-law, Leigh Ann Dixon and her husband, Mark. He will also be missed by his nieces, nephews, godchildren, other relatives and friends.
He was a “Yorkshireman trying to bring some culture to the Colonies! He fell under the spell of a wicked witch from New Jersey”
Peter describes his life in his own words on his writer blog “At the age of eleven I knew I wanted to be a priest. At seventeen I had discovered girls were interesting creatures so I had to rethink that idea. When I was twenty the oil was just being found in the North Sea so four friends and I went to the Shetland Islands to make our fortunes. I came back three months later married and broke. My music kept me going a little, but not wanting to be ‘one with the common herd,’ I started a country band instead of playing folk like the rest of the people at the Stables Folk Club. I knocked around a variety of jobs from farm hand to engraving license plates. (Yes, it’s a real job in England). I ended up driving buses. Never mind muscle cars; you haven’t driven until you take out a double decker bus on a skidpan and try to turn it over! In 1981, I had a broken wrist, no job and a divorce so I came to America to meet a girlfriend. Started driving tour buses around Washington D.C. and upset all the tour guides by referring to Washington history as “200 years, that’s not history, that’s gossip!” Since there were actually real country musicians here I did a Vicar of Bray and went back to my roots of folk music. Very useful as I had just discovered Renaissance Festivals. Wrote several songs and had a moderately successful group called Cornucopia and began a still unfinished novel or two. Drifted into the delivery and courier business until one day I asked myself “What on earth is a good Yorkshireman doing sitting in Maryland dispatching a collection of Algerians and Somalis around D.C.?” So here I am working on the writing gig and still playing music. Now I’m sitting in Columbia, MD enjoying writing and trying to explain to my son why he has to finish college. Preferably sometime before I go broke. I love real ale with good friends, bad golf and meeting people I’ve never met in places I’ve never been.”
Family and friends are invited to call on Wednesday, August 1, 2012 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at Witzke Funeral Homes Inc., 5555 Twin Knolls Road, Columbia, MD 21045. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Thursday, 12 noon at St. Johns the Evangelist Catholic Church at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road, Columbia, MD 21044. Interment Private.