Bennie Lee Eaton was born Feb. 18, 1947, to Emil Ray Eaton and Mabel Marylene (Jones) Eaton in Clovis, New Mexico, and died Oct. 12, at Freeman Hospital in Joplin, Missouri, at the age of 70.
The family moved to a ranch in Matheson, Colorado, on Dec. 18, 1947. Bennie attended school there through 10th grade in the Big Sandy School District No. 110J. He attended his junior year of high school in Montrose, Colorado. His senior year was spent at Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he graduated in 1966.
Bennie spent a total of 44 years in the trucking business. His first driving employment was with Ralph Kincaid in Limon, Colorado. Following this, Bennie, his dad, Emil and brother Kenneth trucked in Wisconsin. Later the three moved to Clovis, New Mexico, and engaged in farming and trucking. In 1970, Bennie started trucking for himself in Texas. It was during this time he met and married Joan Gatherie. They later divorced.
In 1973, Bennie went back to Clovis, New Mexico, and drove from there for 5 years. In 1978, he moved to Denver and leased to and drove for Joe Porter. Joe trusted Bennie to go into Wyoming, driving over-sized loads.
After 1986, Bennie started moving oil rigs for his own company, JCB Trucking. During his years in Wyoming, he met and married Julie Eaton. They later divorced.
In 2008, he semi-retired to Lovington, New Mexico.
In August 2010, while traveling to Wyoming to attend his grandson Cayden’s funeral, Bennie suffered a life-threatening illness, spending two and a half months at the University of Utah Medical Center. With his release from that facility, he still had serious health issues so his sister Etta Lu moved him to her home in Diamond, Missouri. Improved health saw Bennie moving into his own home in Joplin, Missouri, in 2011 until his death.
Bennie is survived by two sons, Jason Eaton of Dallas, Texas, and Cody Eaton; and his life partner Jessica Curtis, of Phoenix; five grandchildren, Justin, Jessie, Arayan, Aaliya and Emma; two sisters, Gayle Franek of Denver, and Etta Gaut of Coffeyville, Kansas; one brother, Kenneth Eaton of Amarillo, Texas; one half-sister, Renee Brimmer of North Carolina; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Emil Eaton; his mother, Mabel Michel; one sister, Frankie Boese; and two grandsons, Cayden Eaton and Parker Eaton.
A life celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 3, at the Farson Community Center. Burial will follow at the Farson Cemetery. A luncheon at the community center will be held for family and friends after burial.
Memorials may be sent to Bethel Baptist Church, 12727 Bethel Road, Seneca, Missouri 64865.
Arrangements are being handled by David W. Barnes Funeral Home, Coffeyville, Kansas.