Benjamin L. Poe

Commander Benjamin L. Poe Jr.,USN(Ret.), passed away at his Grafton, WV, home on 28 July 2009 with his wife and family by his side. He was 76 years old. Ben was born on 20 July 1933 in Grafton, WV. He was recognized early on as an achiever. In high school, he excelled at both academics and sports. Ben spent a year at Fairmont State College, WV, where he was president of the freshman class before entering the U.S. Naval Academy with the Class of 1956. He was a member of the 16th Company.


After graduation and completion of flight training at Pensacola, FL, Ben became a carrier test pilot. When his aviation career was threatened by a back condition, Ben transferred to P-3 duty, completing 22 years of aviation service after flight surgeons told him his flying days were over. Ben was the air operations officer at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He served as an aide to three admirals and as operations officer at NAS Patuxent River. He earned a master’s degree in political science from The George Washington University while attending the Naval War College in Newport, RI. He retired after 25 years of active duty and spent 14 years as project manager for VEDA and John F. Taylor Engineering Co. in the Patuxent River, MD, area.


Ben married Donna McCord of Brownsville, PA, immediately after graduation. They had five children, Benjamin Poe III ’79; Daniel Poe; Mark Poe; Rebecca Brascome; and Lieutenant Commander Timothy Poe, USN. After Donna’s  death in 1996, and while planning to attend his 50th reunion at Grafton High School, Ben became reacquainted with classmate Jo Ann Woodyard. They were married in January 2000 and built a home overlooking Tygart Lake in Grafton, where they enjoyed many happy family reunions. Jo Ann and her daughters, Lu Ann and Cindy, were instrumental in caring for Ben during his illness A memorial service was conducted on 1 August 2009. Vince Roper ’56 & The Poe Family