Philip Baker Benefiel, 95, died on April 7, 2019, at home in Champaign. Prior to getting his law degree, Benefiel served in World War II as part of the 667th Field Artillery Battalion at the Battle of the Bulge and the Rhine Crossing at Remagen. Following law school, he served as a state’s attorney, an Illinois state senator, an associate judge, and circuit judge of the 2nd Circuit. Judge Benefiel’s lifelong passion was in social justice. Along with his wife, he founded Volunteers in Probation (VIP), which supported at-risk youth with community mentors. As this model was adopted by adjacent Wabash and Crawford Counties, the name was changed to Cra-Wa-La Volunteers in Probation, an organization which served approximately 1,100 youth over nearly 50 years.
Philip Baker Benefiel ’48