Charles Benton Wardlaw rode peacefully through heaven’s gates on June 16, 2020 at his home in Boerne, Texas. Benton was born February 27, 1943 to Walter Hadley and Mattye Gwen Wardlaw in Del Rio, Texas. He was a fifth-generation rancher whose great-great grandparents, George and Rachel Whitehead, settled in Val Verde County in 1882. His grandfather, Crawford Benton “Dutch” Wardlaw, served as President of Producers Wool and Mohair Company, Director of Del Rio National Bank, President of the National Wool Growers Association (1940-1941), and Charter Member, Director, and President (1938-1939) of the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association. Benton’s father, Walt, helped run the Wardlaw Brothers Ranch partnership which at one time had the areas’ largest clips of wool and the third largest herd of AQHA horses in the world. The Wardlaw Brothers were leaders in range conservation work and irrigation development.
Benton thrived in the ranching and rodeo industries. In 1961, he was the Texas High School Rodeo Association Champion Calf Roper and All-Around Cowboy. Benton graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Animal Science, was a member of the Texas Tech rodeo team, and qualified for the NIRA finals. He won the 1963 Texas Tech Rodeo in the bull dogging. Benton went on to produce one of the largest herds of Blonde D ’Aquitaine in the United States utilizing artificial insemination. He was a member of the PRCA, AQHA, Texas Southwest Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers, and the Masonic Lodge. Benton worked diligently ranching and running commercial real estate investments.