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Detroit Lakes couple celebrates second diamond anniversary

Vernon and Edna Benson were married on Nov. 3, 1934 in Bemidji. They will celebrate their 75th anniversary this Sunday, Oct. 11, with an open house from 1-4 p.m. at The Cottage.

It's hard to believe, but in almost three quarters of a century together, Vernon and Edna Benson both say they've never had a fight.

"We don't always agree over everything -- but we don't fight," says Edna.

The couple, who will observe their 75th wedding anniversary Nov. 3, is planning to celebrate with an open house this Sunday, Oct. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. at The Cottage, part of the Emmanuel Community campus at 1435 Madison Ave., Detroit Lakes.

"We're going to have a party for them," says the Bensons' daughter, Bea Purdy.

Parties were something the Bensons were known for when they were raising their three children, Lloyd, Wayne and Bea, on a farm seven miles east of Waubun.

"We had some amazing parties at that house," says Bea.

"We had one that lasted three days -- we got snowed in," Edna recalls.

"No one's parents were worried, because they knew where their kids were," Bea adds. "Your house was always open to our friends."

The Bensons actually had two homes on their property; the first, a small log cabin, was on the property when they purchased it.

Their second home was built by Vernon himself.

"I built the barn, the house, and everything myself," he says proudly.

Though he spent many years as a farmer, first raising dairy cows, then beef cattle, Vernon was also a professional carpenter for more than 25 years -- or "200 years," as Vern jokingly says, with a twinkle in his eye.

During all that time, the couple stayed put on their rural Waubun homestead, and even post-retirement, when their travels caused them to criss-cross the United States several times, they always came home again.

Then, about four years ago, as their children became increasingly concerned about the couple living on a farm so far away from town, the Bensons were finally persuaded to move to The Madison, also located on the Emmanuel campus in Detroit Lakes. Earlier this year, on March 1, they moved to The Cottage.

While they are quite comfortable in their new home, they still have strong ties to their old one, which is now inhabited by their grandson Paul and his family.

"They love it there," Edna says. "It's still in the family, and it always will be."

The Benson family actually has quite a long history in the Waubun area. Vernon's parents, Ben and Hannah Benson, arrived there in 1911, and the family lived in a house located where the Waubun football field is now.

Vernon was born on Jan. 9, 1913, the third of five children. In about 1914, Ben moved the family to a farm located five miles east of Waubun on Highway 113, and one mile south. They were located north of Lake Grove Lutheran Church, and became one of that church's founding families.

"My dad was in the first confirmation class at Lake Grove Lutheran," Bea says.

Edna Krueger was born the daughter of John and Augusta Krueger on Jan. 18, 1916. She was the sixth of nine children.

Edna and Vern first met when she was walking to the Lake Grove Church one day and he pulled up next to her in his Roadster to offer her a ride. She turned him down -- even when he drove a mile around and came back to ask a second time.

They met for a second time when Edna's brother was having a party at his home. Though Edna was quite shy, Vern was less so, and somehow found the nerve to ask her out on a date.

They would continue dating for three years before they finally got married.

"We didn't have big weddings in those days," Edna recalls. "One day, we just took off in our little Roadster for Bemidji, and were married in the church parsonage there."

Seventy-five years later, they're still together -- and quite happily so, as they both will attest.

Four years ago, as they were celebrating their 71st anniversary, Vern said, "We've worked together, played together, had kids together, and we're still together."

Nothing has changed, as is readily apparent in the tender way he kisses Edna's cheek as they pose for a photograph.

"We've had a good life," says Edna.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454