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Benny Reem

April 30, 1933-March 3, 2011

Benny Lowe "Ben" Reem, 77, of Detroit Lakes, peacefully passed away on Thursday, March 3, 2011 at his home, under the care of Hospice of the Red River Valley.

Ben was born to Charles and Emily (Carlson) Reem on April 30, 1933, in Aitkin, Minn. He graduated from Aitkin High School in 1951 and later from Minneapolis Business College.

On November 23, 1957, Ben married Martha Ann Lee in the Methodist Church in Aitkin. They both have been active in Methodist churches in every town where they lived.

Ben grew up on the shores of Mille Lacs Lake. He started working at a summer resort at a very young age, carrying fishermen's tackle between their car and boat for nickel and dime tips. He also operated fishing launches on Mille Lacs during four summers while in high school and college and sailed on the Great Lakes as a deck watch on an ore boat for one season, where he visited most major ports.

Ben was very proud to have served three years in the Marine Corps, attaining the rank of sergeant. This included a one-year tour in Japan. He passed the necessary test and endured many interviews to qualify for Officers Candidate School (OCS). He was waiting for the next class to begin when the Korean Armistice was signed and the OCS Program was discontinued.

After going to college on the G.I. Bill, he became office manager of Deuel Telephone Cooperative in Clear Lake, S.D. for seven years. Deuel Telephone served 10 towns in South Dakota and Minnesota. In 1965 he got into the computer industry in its infancy, by going to work as the assistant manager of North Central Data Cooperative (NCDC) in Mandan, N.D., (currently known as National Information Solutions Center), where he oversaw the development of computer programs for rural telephone cooperatives.

In 1968 Ben moved his family to Detroit Lakes, where he was employed by D. Tollefson, CPA as the principal operator of the first computer in Detroit Lakes. Ben was in charge of designing and writing computer programs for their clients, including the First National Bank of Detroit Lakes. He returned to NCDC in 1970 as general manager, a position he held for nine years. During his tenure as general manager, NCDC reached a peak of producing 350,000 utility bills monthly for rural electric and telephone cooperatives in 11 states.

Ben joined Basin Electric Cooperative as a financial analyst, and he spent many weeks in New York City, where he participated in lease transactions totaling $1 billion -- one of his proudest accomplishments! During this time he earned frequent guest perks at the Vista International Hotel, which was connected to both World Trade Towers that were destroyed on 9-11.

After leaving Basin, Ben and Martha owned and operated the Golf Terrace Motel in Crookston for four years. In 1991, they moved back to Detroit Lakes, where Ben -- never fully retiring -- held several part-time jobs, including working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota Job Service, Green Thumb, Fine Line Protective Services, and most recently, as a driver for Nereson Chevrolet Cadillac.

Ben served on the Clear Lake (S.D.) City Council and the Detroit Lakes Planning Commission for several years. He enjoyed playing and coaching softball for more than 40 years -- having played until he was 71 years old! He was an avid Detroit Lakes High School, Vikings, and Twins sports fan-- never giving up on the Vikings winning the Super Bowl.

Ben had an ongoing hobby of tracing his genealogy. One of his sayings was he "didn't know where he was going so he should try to find out where he came from."

Ben was an avid writer, having some of his work published and winning several awards. His sense of humor was well developed and he was always ready with a humorous quip. He enjoyed a good laugh and a cup of coffee with a friend.

Surviving him, and blessed to have shared his life, are his wife Martha of Detroit Lakes; a daughter, Melody Reem Kruckenberg and a son, Patrick Reem, both of Detroit Lakes; a daughter, Brenda (Donald) Wheelock of Inkom, Idaho; a brother, Gilbert Reem of Crosby, Minn.; a sister, Marjorie Voltz of Detroit Lakes; six grandsons, Dr. Nathan Wilson (Dr. Julia Polito), Keith and Scott Kruckenberg, Matthew, Andrew and Jonathan Wheelock; and several nephews, nieces and cousins.

Preceding him in death were his parents, Charles and Emily Reem; a sister, Shirley Moe; a sister-in-law, Bernice Reem (Christensen); and two brothers-in-law, Roy Voltz and Warren Moe.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, March 7, at West-Kjos Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes.

Funeral services are set for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 8 at the United Methodist Church in Detroit Lakes, with interment at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8 in the Bennettville Cemetery, Bennettville, Minn.

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