Friends remember local Youth Pastor

DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -Friends and loved ones are mourning the loss of a former Youth Pastor in Duncan.

Ryan Benton died yesterday at just 41 years old. His friends tell us they believe he suffered a heart attack.

He was a Pastor at The Well church in Duncan for about 9 years before he moved to Guthrie to be with family at the end of 2016.

"Just love everyday like it's your last because we're not promised tomorrow,' said Matt Matthews, friend of Benton. "He's a living example of that."

Ryan Benton was a popular face around Duncan. Known by many for serving at his church, but also a man who had a love and passion for helping others. Matt Matthews says he changed his life forever.

"To be honest, I was 4 months sober from drugs and alcohol at that time,' said Matthews. "He was like man you belong in Duncan. You need to come down here and get involved in church. My spiritual life was non-existent at that point, so a month later I moved down. He just took me under his wing and was always there for me."

He heard the news yesterday of Benton's passing and is still in shock.

"He was loved by so many and he loved so many people, but he never met a stranger," said Matthews. "So the feeling...It was disbelief. My wife called me on my cell phone and I was busy at work and I didn't answer so she called me on my work phone and I knew something was up."

Friends say Benton was always looking for ways to serve his community. He even showed up to A Kindred Community dinner, a local foundation that was started by two women to help local widows. The founders say it's because of Benton that their ministry has grown into what it is today.

"It was an unbelievable moment to a ministry that was brand new and a ministry that was taking it's first breath that night...that a personality like Ryans, that a character like Ryan's showed up to support us," said Leah Miller, Co-Founder of Beautiful Day. "We believe it changed everything for us that night."

Matthews knows he will never be forgotten.

"There's pain and grief and all of those processes, but there's going to be good to come out of this in the end," said Matthews. "Ryan's name and his legacy and his love is going to carry on."

Benton leaves behind a wife and three children. The funeral will be Friday at Community Church in Guthrie at 2:00 pm.

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