DES MOINES, IA (BRAIN)—Don Benson, longtime leader of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) died May 8 of pancreatic cancer.
He was 82.
Benson, who spent 27 years in the Des Moines Register’s promotions department, was a railroader at heart—the grandson of a depot agent, he was a member of several railroad fan clubs. But he was also the logistics man for the first 19 RAGBRAIs, launching each with the cry, “Take no prisoners!”
Chuck Offenburger, a former Register columnist and RAGBRAI co-host, said Benson “kept the event rolling. He knew how to do things like find a detour that couldn’t be used for vehicles but was just fine for bicycles.”
Benson is survived by his wife of 59 years, Jackie, two children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.