USA Softball is saddened to hear of the passing of longtime USA Softball member and USA Softball of Florida Commissioner, Carlton Benton (July 5, 2022). Our deepest, most heartfelt condolences go out to his family during this difficult time.
"We are deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Commissioner Benton,” said USA Softball Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Craig Cress. “His contributions to USA Softball as well as his passion and dedication to the sport was instrumental for our organization and the state of Florida. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Wanda, and daughters Natalie and Michelle.”
Carlton Benton (1947-2022)
“Born as a Navy brat in Jacksonville, Fla., Benton had many fond memories of growing up in Fallon, Nev., and Puerto Rico before returning to Florida and settling in Lakeland after his father’s retirement from the U.S. Navy in 1961.
In 1974, he found his calling and began a rewarding and much-loved 30-year career with the City of Lakeland. Through these years, Benton thrived in a variety of roles with a passion for both youth and adult sports programs. He had a great love for sports officiating, and you could often find him on a variety of fields or courts. In 1986 Benton jumped into the national softball scene by attending the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) National Council Meeting in Hawaii, making Lakeland’s first bid on a National Championship. His trip was a success, and the next year Lakeland hosted the ASA Men’s Major Industrial National Championship. This tournament would be the first of many to make a significant and positive economic impact on the area. Benton would continue to pursue his passion for softball by serving as the Commissioner for West Central Florida ASA and eventually in his current role as the State Commissioner for USA Softball of Florida. His dedication and love for the softball community was unparalleled.
Benton enjoyed traveling with a particular love of the western part of the country, including Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks. He truly had a love for people and helping others and was known for his great sense of humor and big heart while being especially gifted in the area of sarcasm and eye rolling. His greatest love and source of pride were his two daughters and two granddaughters.”
A visitation will be held Friday, July 8, 2022, from 5 – 7 p.m. at Heath Funeral Chapel (328 S. Ingraham Avenue, Lakeland, FL 33801). The funeral service will take place Saturday, July 9, 2022, at 10 a.m. at Heath Funeral Chapel followed by an interment at Oak Hill Burial Park (4620 US Highway 98 S, Lakeland, FL 33812).
In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring Benton’s memory by making a donation to Miss Auburndale Softball (PO Box 1203, Auburndale, FL 33823). The family has asked that these funds be made available to girls who may need financial assistance. Donations may also be made to the USA Patriots Softball Team (PO Box 75345, Tampa, FL 33675).