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Obituary for Rodney Benn


Brian was born in Brighton in Sussex, UK in 1936. While Brian was still a toddler, his father was drafted into the British Army, leaving and Brian and his mother alone to weather WWII on the Channel coast.

At 16, after finishing high school, Brian was accepted into the RAF cadet program, where he was trained as an engineer and completed the RAF officer training program. He is a veteran of the Persian Gulf Crisis, serving in Aden for several years.

In 1964 he decided to leave the RAF in favor of a career in manufacturing. He joined Knowles Electronics' in their British manufacturing facility and a few years later the company offered him the opportunity to go to Taipei, Taiwan to take over the operation of their factory there. The factory in Taiwan, where all levels of management and manufacture were Chinese, made components for hearing aids. Brian quickly learned to speak Mandarin and was very successful in making the factory an efficient and profitable operation.

While in Taiwan, Brian traveled excessively seeking appropriate locations in Asia for additional Knowles factories, after building a factory for the Taipei operation. His success in Asia ultimately achieved for him one of his long-range goals, coming to America. He was made a Vice President of Knowles and relocated to their headquarters in the Chicago area.

Brian's ultimate career aim was to own his own company. He ultimately bought one of its subsidiary companies, IRP, and became it's President. In 1994 Brian sold his interest in IRP and retired to Florida to play golf. In 1999 he moved to Melbourne and in 2008 became an American citizen, which was a source of great pride.

Once a very active person, a succession of health crises over the last ten years took its toll and he lost a long and heroic battle. Brian is succeeded by his wife of 12 years, Joan Porter-Benn, and by sons, Andrew (Debra) and Nicholas (Elaine); grandchildren, Ryan, James, Kieran, Hanna and Maisie Benn; and daughter-in-law, Sarah Benn, all of Sussex, UK, and his brother, Kenneth of Cornwall, UK.
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