Vernon E. Benson, 97, of Detroit Lakes, formerly of Waubun, died Wednesday, June 2, 2010, in The Cottage on Emmanuel Community Campus in Detroit Lakes.
Vernon Emil Benson was born January 9, 1913, in Waubun to Ben and Hannah Benson. He grew up in the Waubun area and attended Adam's School and Waubun High School.
Vernon met Edna Krueger in 1931, and they were married on Nov. 3, 1934. From there, they began building a life of over 75 years together. Vernon and Edna raised three children: Lloyd, Beatrice and Wayne, and assisted in "care and maintenance" of nine of their grandchildren. Later on, four more grandchildren were added to the list. Through the years, 26 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grand children expanded their loving family.
Vernon was a member of the first confirmation class at Lake Grove Lutheran church in 1926. With Edna, he remained active and faithful in his church and passed that legacy onto his children and grandchildren.
Vernon was a farmer, raising first dairy and then beef cattle until his retirement. But through it all, he was a builder at heart. He was employed by the WPA, building bridges and roads, working also with Schermerhorn Ranch and Goral Potter's Mill. In 1940, he built a home for his family in a valley east of Waubun. Six years later, he moved the house a half a mile uphill-with two horses, a stump puller and a box of dynamite to its current picturesque site where his grandson, Paul Benson, now lives with his family. Vernon built his own barn and later the remaining outbuildings on the farm. He took great pride in building his farm with "my own two hands."
Not only did Vernon build his own farm, but he also built many homes, barns and outbuildings in the Waubun area for other people. He and his friend, Karl Haddeland, with the help of expert craftsmen from Norway, constructed the main reception lodge at Many Point Scout Camp, drawing upon Vernon's engineering skills to design and hand-hew logs used for the standards, crossbeams and rafters. He was called upon to assist in building Douglas Lodge at Itasca State Park and some of the original structures at Emmanuel Community in Detroit Lakes.
In addition to large structures, Vernon specialized in fine woodworking skills of cabinetry and interior finishing. His children and grandchildren treasure the many end tables, coat racks, headboards, children's furniture and countless wooden loons, flower and bird designs, which were painted by "Grandma Vernon."
In retirement, Vernon and Edna enjoyed many years of traveling throughout the United States. He was also an avid fisherman, specializing in walleyes. Vernon's wit, charm, twinkling eyes and willing hugs won the hearts of most everyone he met, and he will be missed by all who have known him.
Vernon is survived by his wife, Edna (Krueger) Benson, daughter Beatrice Purdy, son Wayne (Jean) Benson and daughter-in-law Betty Benson. He also survived by 13 grandchildren: Sue (Wilbur) Heisler, Mary (Stew) Metelak, John (Billy Jean) Benson, Margaret (Douglas) Thompson, Paul (Michelle) Benson, Mark (Heidi) Benson, Jane (Patrick) Dunagan, Gregg (Nicole) Benson, Christopher (Sue) Super, Adrienne (Sid) Smith, Stephanie (Matt) King, Patricia (David) Wallace and Elizabeth Hanson. He has 26 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren. Vernon is preceded in death by his son Lloyd Benson, son-in-law Bill Purdy, his parents, one brother, and three sisters.
Blessed be the memory of Vernon Benson.
Funeral services were held Monday, June 7, 2010, in Lake Grove Lutheran Church, rural Waubun, with Rev Doyle Turner officiating. Carrie Jirava was the pianist.
Pallbearers were Mark Benson, Gregg Benson, Paul Benson, John Benson, Kyle Heisler, Allan Benson, Cody Benson and Travis Benson. Honorary bearers were Christopher Super, Ben Benson, Herbert Krueger, Harry Krueger, Dr. Tom Fritz and Dr. William Henke.
Interment was at Lake Grove Cemetery, rural Waubun.