Call Us: (607) 674-4481

Robert ‘Doc’ Benedict, Citizen of the Year 2005

Doc was Sherburne History personified! “Doc” has been a local dentist here for years and also has been our irreplaceable Sherburne area historian, who has documented so much about our town and village. During his boyhood in the 1920’s everything that went on here in Sherburne was absorbed, evaluated and stored away in his mind.
John B Benedict and Annis Dalrymple of North Norwich were Docs’ grandparents and they had eight children, The family owned several farms between Sherburne and North Norwich and the children attended the District School #1 at the corner of Rte 12 and Tracy Road.  Walter and Bertha Holcomb Benedict were Doc’s parents and his siblings were Nelson N, Edith A, and Grace L Benedict. Their home was on the north corner of North Main and Church Streets across from the present Stewart’s Convenience Store.  These people all weave a background tapestry in the history of Sherburne.
He never had an allowance but had plenty of work at any job to earn the spending money needed to jingle in his pocket. He set cabbage for Benny VanWagner; pitched mustard out of the corn for John Howard for twenty-five cents an hour; picked peas for E P Smith at forty cents a bushel, fifteen bushels a day, six dollars—not bad.  One could do a lot with that kind of money.  A movie was only a quarter and a sundae was fifteen or twenty cents, depending on the topping.  Doc also delivered the Binghamton Sun for about eight years until he graduated from high school.   He was a little guy but he never shirked at a task, just did it. His mother made huge pans of popcorn which he took to the Boxing matches sponsored by the American Legion and sold for more pocket money.
Doc attended the old school on Chapel Street where students shared a common cloakroom and elementary classes were in double grades on the first floor.  This small guy was the star end and Captain of the Crimson Warriors of the Sherburne High School football squad.
.  Doc graduated in the class of 1930, with an 82.49 grade average but he took a post-graduate course, hoping to raise this grade before starting college at Colgate. Upon graduation from Colgate in 1935 he had made the decision to become a dentist and he attended the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Dentistry in Philadelphia.  After graduation he set up his dental office on the second floor over Bigelow’s Pharmacy.  It was a proud day when the plaque was placed on his door proclaiming that this was the office of DR BENEDICT, DENTIST.
During these educational years he had met and fell in love with Betty Reynolds and they were married in 1943 and lived at the corner of South Main and Chapel Street. They have a son Robert and now ‘Doc’ is proud of his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Doc was always looking for ways to make extra money and sometimes these searches got him into more trouble than they were worth. If he could make it better he would figure out a way to do it or help someone else with the task.  Any odd job which could later prove profitable, Doc was involved.  He learned his many skills in a variety of ways, but it was mainly by JUST DOING IT. Doc was never idle if something interested him. Perhaps that explains his longevity.
During the late 1980’s and into the 1990’s he wrote his Memoirs—his remembrances of his hometown as he lived them and they were published in the Sherburne News as “Sherburne in the Twentieth Century” and also in a booklet of his compiled columns with the same title.  .  Doc, we all love you and honor you for what you have given to Sherburne, your hometown.