After nearly 30 years of marriage, the romantic spark between Jesse Clark Benton and Bobbie Benton was still aglow.
They loved to travel together, and Clark Benton, 48, had arranged a trip to Aruba to celebrate his wife's 50th birthday, said Wayne Galloway, minister of Fort Logan Church of Christ in Stanford, where the couple worshiped.
"She was really excited about going," Galloway said. They were "a very loving couple."
The Lincoln County natives were aboard Flight 5191 when it crashed Sunday morning.
"They were model Christians, just wonderful people," Galloway said.
Both taught Bible classes at church.
Bobbie Benton was always ready with words of encouragement for others, and Clark Benton took on a leadership role in the congregation, he said.
"You didn't have to ask," Galloway said. "He saw things that needed to be done."
Clark Benton was a retired Marine who worked as a principal network engineer for General Dynamics Network Systems, which is based in Needham, Mass., said his co-worker, Dan Di Iulio.
"Clark was an invaluable resource to our operation in and around the Boston and Washington, D.C., areas," Di Iulio wrote in an e-mail.
Bobbie Benton worked in the offices of a Danville eye doctor, Galloway said.
The Bentons are survived by a son, Richard, of Washington, D.C., and a daughter, Mary, of Stanford. Both also have other family members in Stanford.
"The worship service (Sunday) was very difficult," Galloway said. "We're a small congregation. They were intricately involved."