Howard Benfield

Howard Benfield

Howard Partee Benfield, 90, of Sawmills passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, at Catawba Valley Medical Center after a brief illness. Born in Caldwell County on Aug. 26, 1930, he was the son of the late Hardee Partee Benfield and Jenny Leanna Hefner Benfield. Howard was a member of the class of 1949, Hudson Hornets. Excelling in sports, he keyed the winning ways of both basketball and baseball teams. Coming of age after World War II, he truly embodied all that we now call the “American Dream”: Work hard, respect neighbors, and raise a family. A love of the outdoors was evident in his work as well as his leisure activities. He began his work as a carpenter, mason, and fulfilled his dream of building houses and apartments as a retirement investment. He enjoyed gardening and planting, and spending time in his field. He was an avid golfer and excelled in the sport, with club championships, accomplishing five hole-in-ones and a double eagle.

Howard attended and supported Mount Zion Baptist Church as a member and participated actively in Sunday school and Church.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, Boyd, Paul, Clifford and Cainey Benfield; and sister, Ruth B. Clarke.

Howard is survived by his loving wife, Mary Nell Knight Benfield; son, Pat Benfield and wife Mary Beth of Granite Falls; and daughter, Genice Nix and husband, Roger of Raleigh. He was affectionately known as “Sparky” by his grandchildren, Emily Benfield Cunningham (Michael), Adam Nix (Cori), and Will Benfield. He is also survived by his two great-grandchildren, Luke and Logan Nix.

Graveside rites will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Sawmills. All are welcome, but the family asks that social distancing guidelines are followed and masks are properly worn.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1787 Cajah’s Mountain Road, Hudson, NC 28628.

Condolences may be sent to the Benfield family at

Drum Funeral Home in Hickory is honored to be serving the Benfield family.