It is with deep sadness that we report that the NHF Treasurer, Lee F. Benton, passed away on August 24, 2012, in Palo Alto, California. Lee was Senior Counsel and Retired Partner in the Palo Alto office of Cooley, LLP, a large national law firm. He had practiced business law with Cooley for over 40 years, and was managing partner of the firm from 1996 to 2001. Lee played a significant role in establishing Cooley as one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and important law firms. In a memoriam statement from Cooley, Lee was described as a “brilliant practitioner and a highly regarded speaker on the topics of securities law, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic partnering.”
Lee brought his business and legal acumen, and his dedication, to the Board of the National Headache Foundation which he joined in 2006. In his role as Treasurer and Chair of the Operations Committee, he devoted a substantial amount of time each year to his responsibilities at the NHF. On April 14, 2012, Lee was awarded the Elaine Diamond Service Award at the NHF Annual Gala in Chicago, in recognition of his excellent and enduring service to the Foundation. In his remarks when presenting the award, the NHF President, Doctor Arthur Elkind, noted: “Although Lee is located on the West Coast, and is intensely involved in other health-related organizations, he has been intimately involved with the NHF and unselfishly has given his time and effort. He will often travel to Chicago to the Foundation office, at his own expense, as his role has expanded beyond expectations in handling the operations of our organization.”
Lee was born in Springfield, Ohio, on February 18, 1944, to the late Robert and Candice Collins Benton. He attended Oberlin College, receiving a BA in government, Magna Cum Laude. Lee received his JD at the University of Chicago Law School, and was a member of the Order of the Coif. He was Executive Editor of The University of Chicago Law Review from 1968 to 1969, and a teaching fellow at Stanford Law School from 1969 to 1970.
In addition to his service with the NHF, Lee served on a volunteer basis as a strategic advisor to the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), and on the Board of Directors of Sonim Technologies, Inc. He donated substantial services to the University of California San Francisco medical school, primarily to the Comprehensive Cancer Center where he was a member of the Protocol Review Committee for genitourinary cancers.
At the time of his death, Lee resided in Palo Alto with his wife, Susan. They have two sons, Timothy and Matthew (Director of Alliances and Partnerships at the NHF). He is also survived by his brothers Marc (Trish) and Bruce (Andrea), and his brother-in-law, David Wann. Our deepest condolences are sent to the Benton Family. Lee’s loss will be profoundly felt at the Foundation for many years. I treasured Lee as my good friend and advisor. Personally, I will miss him greatly.
Seymour Diamond, M.D.
Executive Chairman and Founder