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Local hero, businessman passes away | Business

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Local hero, businessman passes away
Local hero, businessman passes away

SMYRNA, Ga. -- Atlanta lost a local hero and Thrashers Kiss Cam celebrity last week.

T.R. Benning Jr. passed away Thursday, Mar. 10 at age 89. He leaves behind a lasting legacy and a thriving family-owned construction business.

A lieutenant in the Army Corps of Engineers, European Theater Operations, Benning landed on the beaches of Normandy during the Allied invasion of World War II. He received a Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Silver Star for his service.

Benning and his father, T.R. Benning Sr., founded the Smyrna-based Benning Construction Company in 1953.

In the past 60 years, Benning Construction Co. has completed more than 1,200 projects in the Southeast. It was a finalist for Kennesaw State University's Georgia Family Business of the Year award in 2010.

Benning also received the Skill, Integrity and Responsibility award for "outstanding service and contributions to the construction industry" from the Georgia branch of the Associated General Contractors of America in 1990.

However, Benning was probably best known as half of the most popular couple to grace the Atlanta Thrashers' Kiss Cam. He and his wife Maria were season ticket holders who were always met with cheers and applause when they appeared on camera.

Today, Benning Construction Co. is under its third generation of leadership.

"My dad's life was dedicated to service -- service to his family, his country and his industry," said T.R. "Ted" Benning III, president of Benning Construction Co. "He lived according to his beliefs."