Harry Benford

Harry Benford 2013 (Photo by Kathryn Benford)

Harry Benford leads a double life. By day he is a long-retired Professor of Naval Architecture at the University of Michigan. As the shades of night fall over Ann Arbor, however, a sinister transformation takes place. His teeth lengthen into fangs, his hair (what's left of it) bristles in all directions; his hands turn into paws (but only after he has unbuttoned his spats), his eyebrows grow together over his nose, and he becomes a Gilbert & Sullivan fiend of the most rabid kind.

This strange affliction has its roots in 1956, when he and his first wife, Betty (now deceased), started serving as faculty advisors to The University of Michigan Gilbert & Sullivan Society. Harry is now less actively involved with the student group, having seen the responsibility more-than-amply taken over by  another faculty couple: Karl and Ann Zinn. Harry recalls with satisfaction  having founded the Society's friends group, FUMGASS, and having for thirteen years published its journal, GASBAG (Gilbert & Sullivan Boys & Girls).

Harry still maintains correspondence with G&S fans around the world and takes particular pleasure in accompanying his great granddaughter, Bonnie Betty Benford, to UMGASS Saturday matinees. Harry endured a significant loss when his first wife, Betty, died suddenly in 2005, but then had the great good fortune to find Kathy, a second wife of singular virtues, who fits right in with his Geeandessian views and Geeandessian friends.

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