Home > General > A dear friend has left the range…

A dear friend has left the range…

This morning, I found out that one of my best friends from our local shooting world passed away last night. Gerald Benton was one of the very first people I met when I was introduced to practical shooting way back in the late 1990’s. That was at the original Deep South Shooters Association matches at the Gulfport police range. His passing deeply saddened me because he was truly one of the nicest people I have met while shooting. He was always involved in not just shooting but also in helping set up at most of the local matches not just for years, but for decades. He helped me get started. If you shot any of the matches, including Gulfport, Poplarville, Biloxi and Pearlington, any time since the mid 1990’s, you probably knew Gerald, too. He shot everything, USPSA, 3-Gun, Steel Challenge and even outlaw matches.

As sad as his passing is, I have tried to think back to the good times I had shooting with Gerald both locally and at the Mississippi Classic in Jackson. The picture above is from the 2014 MS Classic where Gerald was the senior member (at least, USPSA competition-wise) of our squad. If you aren’t too new to our sport, then you probably recognize most of these folks, as well. In case you don’t know everyone, here’s a who’s who…

Front row left to right – Mike Esposito, Michael Smith, Don Evans, Sean Benton, Bryant Willett

Back row left to right – Gerald Benton, Josh Benton, Steven Mosher, Bill Jackson, Chris Brown, Carter Brown, Lee Fraiser

I do not have any details for services that may be planned at this time. However, I will update this post when I have more information.

Gerald, thank you for all the help you gave me throughout the years. You will be greatly missed by your friends in the shooting community. Thank you for all the good times. May you rest in peace.

Bill Jackson

Categories: General
  1. Anonymous
    April 17, 2021 at 3:50 PM

    Love, respect, and admiration. Gerald Benton. You couldn’t ask for a greater guy. !

  2. Don Evans
    April 17, 2021 at 3:57 PM

    Well said, Bill.

  3. Roger Follettec
    April 17, 2021 at 10:57 PM

    Always enjoyed shooting with Gerald. I was sad today when I heard that he had passed. God bless Gerald and his family!

  4. Tom Duchmann Jr
    April 18, 2021 at 4:11 PM

    Great guy, always willing to help in any way he could. A true sportsman and competitor, a huge loss for anyone that knew him. RIP my friend

  5. Anonymous
    April 19, 2021 at 2:10 PM

    Very sad news. Rest well Gerald.

  6. Chris Walley
    April 20, 2021 at 5:28 PM

    Man, this really breaks my heart. Gerald was such a great guy & was always good for a laugh!! He will surely be missed. God Bless him & his family.

  7. George Stevens
    April 26, 2021 at 10:22 AM

    I am sorry to just learn of Gerald’s passing. First met him when I started shooting at the Gulfport Police Range in 2000. He was very helpful to my getting started in USPSA.
    For a while I would show up very early at his house and load my stuff in his truck for the ride to shoot at the Jackson(Byrum) club. At times they would let us shoot thru so we could stop at Ellisville to shoot IDPA. It was a long day but I thoroughly enjoyed the time spent with him and Gerald Jr. We were shooting 4 USPSA matches a month then.
    He also helped me pick out my first STI at the gator match in Gonzales.
    My wife had met him when he, Gerald Jr. and Tim Lott came for hot dogs with us after a Pearlington match.
    I haven’t had any contact with him since I stopped shooting a few years ago, but ironically two weeks ago while on Hwy 49 as we passed Saucier , I mentioned to my wife that’s where Gerald lives.
    RIP Gerald and thanks for the memories.

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