Thomas L. Benson

T. "Luke" Benson

Thomas Luther "Luke" Benson was born Sept. 17, 1917, in Hartsville, the son of Martin Luther Benson and Annie Ingram Benson. He was a graduate of the public schools of Darlington County, the University of South Carolina and the Banking School of the South at Louisiana State University. His career in banking began in 1945 when he became affiliated with Conway National Bank. He was elected chairman of the board in 1985, after having served as president since 1965.

During World War II, Benson was an officer with the U.S. Navy and remained in the U.S. Naval Reserves, retiring with the rank of commander after 23 years of service.

Benson was a member of the University of South Carolina Board of Trustees from 1963 to 1984, and a member of the Coastal Educational Foundation from 1973 to 1984. He was a past president and member of the Conway Rotary Club for about 30 years, a member and deacon of the First Baptist Church of Conway, a past commander of American Legion Post 111, a past president of the Conway Chamber of Commerce, a past president of the South Carolina Bankers Association, a member of the Charlotte Branch of the Federal Reserve Board, and a member of the Horry County Commissioners. He was among the first to join Horry County Crime Stoppers, and he served on its board.

He was known by his friends and his colleagues as a man who has a driving desire to help others, as a man who was devoted to fostering the growth of Horry County, and as a man who has a passion for USC and its football team. Benson died on Oct. 19, 1985.

Benson was posthumously named an honorary founder of Coastal Carolina University in 1991.