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HOME SWEET HOME: Benson family has four generations living in the city because there's no place like it

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jul 01, 2024

BENSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The City of Benson is celebrating 100 years of being an independent city. Joyce Thompson has lived there for 70 of those years. She says she knew from the beginning she wasn't going to leave.

“We’ve been very happy here,” Thompson said.

Thompson moved to Benson in the 1950s with her husband and kids. She says a doctor recommended they leave Deming, New Mexico, to a place with cleaner air, to help her daughter's breathing problems.

“I just like Benson," she said. "Benson is a really nice town.”

Thompson still lives in the same house for which she and her husband paid $7,000.

“Dad used to say, you and him would lay in bed saying, 'where in the hell we going to come up with the money?,'" Thompson's son Larry Thompson said.

"Well, it was hard times back then,” Joyce responded with a laugh.

Little did she know, she’d have four generations of her family living close by.

“Everybody sticks together," Joyce said. "I just live for the kids cause they take care of me.”

Having family close by means she can do what she loves most: cheering on the Benson High School Bobcats. She's had 39 family members graduate from the district.

“Every time anybody (goes to a game), they'll say, 'Grandma, you want to go', and I say 'you betcha',” Joyce said.

And she makes sure her great grand-kids can hear her from the stands.

“You sit by her at a wrestling match, I guarantee you, you'll get worn out," Larry said. "She’ll put you in whatever hold them kids do.”

For the Bobcats’ biggest fans, the only downside to the city is being so close to their rivals.

“The only problem is we're just 35 miles from Willcox," Larry said. "It's the only problem with Benson.”

The City of Benson will be celebrating the centennial on Thursday during the Fourth of July events.

Alexis Ramanjulu is a reporter in Cochise County for KGUN 9. She began her journalism career reporting for the Herald/Review in Sierra Vista, which she also calls home. Share your story ideas with Alexis by emailing or by connecting on Facebook.