Jack “J.B.” Benjamin (1937 – 2010)
Born during the Great Depression, in Watseka, Illinois, Jack was the second youngest of six siblings. In 1955, he joined the Navy and served for 5 years as a Hospital Corpsman, spending time in the Philippines and Okinawa, Japan. His training in 1957 at the Naval Optician School in Bethesda, Maryland led to the lifelong career he loved so much. Upon leaving the Navy, Jack worked at Chesapeake Optical in Baltimore, Maryland before moving to Florida to work for Lens Tech, Inc., one of the first labs in the country to surface CR-39 (plastic) lenses in a production setting.
In 1977, Jack moved to Beaverton, Oregon and along with a partner started an innovative laboratory, aptly named Pioneer Optics. Directly across the street from Pioneer, a little shoe company named Blue Ribbon Sports was just getting rolling and officially changed its name the following year to Nike.
Sadly, the partnership that created Pioneer Optics dissolved in 1981, after which, Jack managed Ultra Optics Laboratory in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and then Midwest Uncuts in Indianola, Iowa before starting what would be the crown jewel of his optical career: Laramy-K Optical, in 1989. This time partnering with his wife Janet, the couple did what they knew best and built a loyal following of customers and friends through their own personal brand of service. Derived from their children’s names – Lara, Amy, and Keith – the name Laramy-K, speaks to what was most important in their lives. An honorable and caring employer and mentor, Jack continued to work at Laramy-K until he was physically unable.
Jack’s optical career spanned 55 years. He touched countless lives and passed on his love of optics to many. He will always be remembered and his legacy lives on in Laramy-K Optical; the company into which he poured his heart and soul.
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