Obituary: Leslie Benson Warren
Graveside Services will held at 2:00 PM, Saturday February 6, 2021 at Watson and Sons
Funeral Home with internment at Oaklawn Cemetery. Visitation will be held one hour
prior to graveside, 1:00-2:00 PM.
Leslie Benson Warren, age 73, of Lawton, Oklahoma, passed away peacefully on
Saturday, January 30, 2021. He was born on October 4, 1947, in Center, Texas, to Dr.
Lester G. and Beth Warren. Benson was a devoted husband and father to his wife
Katherine and his two sons, Austin and Colton.
Benson received a Master of Fine Arts, 1974, a Master of Arts, 1971, and a Bachelor of
Science, 1970, from Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas. Benson
became known for his large-scale steel and cast bronze public sculptures. He was a
long-time member of the Texas Sculpture Symposium. His sculptures are found in the
collections of Midwestern State University, the University of Tennessee’s Reese
Collection, and numerous other universities across the country. He has won many
purchase awards and best of shows with his sculptures.
For forty years Benson dedicated his professional career to mentoring his art students,
both academically and personally. His students were touched by his wisdom, knowledge
and his ability to listen wholeheartedly. Benson was our modem day philosopher. He
always asked the question “Why?” and expected well thought out answers. Numerous
students found successful careers in the visual arts and attribute their success to him.
Benson was known for building many things, from sculptures to the home he and his
family would live in for 30+ years, but he was especially known for building up the lives of
others who were fortunate enough to know him.
He never let anything slow him down. His love for learning and hard work were evident;
even during retirement, he took up a new love of gardening and went on to build an art
studio for his beloved wife.
He worked hard to enrich the lives of all his loved ones and friends, and worked
especially hard to provide for his family. Benson and Katherine would enjoy his garden,
pickling the various vegetables he would grow with his own two hands, and taking walks
on a trail Benson created just for her.
Benson instilled in his sons a work ethic that he practiced every day. “If you’re going to
take the time do a job, you might as well do it right”. With this belief, he brought his sons
along for help on his numerous diverse projects and encouraged the same attitude in that
of their own. He was actively involved in their education—teaching them to read at a
young age, helping them with homework, and challenging them to go above and beyond
expectations. He encouraged and supported their creative endeavors from elementary to
graduate school, ensuring that they had the best opportunities possible. His hands on
approach and do-it-yourself attitude were essential to their upbringing and current pursuit
of academic and professional accomplishments.
His love of history and home was evident in the annual visits he would take to his family
farm in Center, Texas. There, he would walk with his family through the woods and enjoy
cherished memories of the past, the peacefulness of nature, and the antique heirlooms
left by his family before him.
Benson is survived by his wife, Katherine Liontas-Warren; sons, Austin Warren and
Colton Warren; sisters, Laura (Glen) of Center Texas and Carolyn (Randy) Filippelli of Ft.
Smith Arkansas along with nephews and several cousins.
He is predeceased by his parents, Dr. Lester G. and Beth Warren, and grandparents,
Jess and Ella Warren, Center, Texas.