James M. Benson Jr., 65, died June 29, 2010, at home in Rockport, Maine.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., on Sept. 27, 1944, he was the son of James Sr. and Arlene Betz Benson. He graduated from Nichols School in 1962, attended Hamilton College, where he was a member of the Emerson Literary Society, graduated from the University of Rochester, and received a Ph. D from Brandeis University in Biology in 1974.

Benson was a career professor at the University of Maine, Bangor campus, where he taught anatomy and physiology for more than 25 years. He retired in 1998 and moved to Rockport, Maine. He enjoyed a summer home in Camden, Maine, for many years prior.

Throughout his life Benson was passionate about sailing and loved his dogs. His childhood included sailing at the Buffalo Canoe Club. Later, he and his brother participated in Operation Sail 1976 aboard the "Tall Ship Gazela" of Philadelphia. He also enjoyed coastal cruising on Penobscot Bay.

He was married to Nancy Hamlin Vogler for 10 years and Susan Volpe Benson for 20 years. He was known as a "tinkerer," a man who could fix anything and/or make something out of nothing. Benson volunteered at Penobscot Bay Medical Center, the animal shelter in Thomaston, and taught sailing with Atlantic Challenge in Rockland.

He was predeceased in 2003 by his father, James M. Benson Sr., a decorated World War II veteran.

He is survived by his mother, Arlene B. Benson (Mrs. Robert Eckis) of Williamsville, N.Y.; his brother, Richard B. (Rick) Benson and his wife, Totney of Westport; as well as his nephew, RB Benson of Philadelphia, Pa.

Private services are planned in the near future in Rockport, Maine, and Buffalo, N.Y.

Contributions in his memory may be sent to Humane Society of Knox County, P.O. Box 1294, Rockland, Maine 04841.

Arrangements are in the care of Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock St., Rockland, Maine. To sign an online guest book, visit www.bchfh.com