Elmer Clarence Benson, III, 74, of Kalispell, went home to be with the Lord, on June 24, 2020. Elmer was born, in Kalispell, on April 24, 1946. He was raised on the family farm, north of town. Being the eldest son, he learned determination, dedication and how to work hard. There, he resolved to “fight the good fight” and to be loyal. He was proud of his close-knit, farming family.
Elmer graduated from Flathead High School in 1965 and the family moved to Kettle Falls, WA. He attended college, studying drafting engineering. He then enlisted in the US Army, where he served in Germany and Vietnam, in the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment and as a commanding sargeant of the Intelligence and Security Command Division. Elmer said he should have stayed in the military and made it a career because he enjoyed seeing the world and he excelled at his duties. But…when his service was complete, he decided to come home and help his family…and we sure were blessed that he made this decision.
Elmer married Nancy Pennoyer in 1972, and from this union came two children, Carol Lynn and Garey. They later divorced.
For those who knew Elmer, one would say, he was a true friend, a tough, strong-willed man; who never gave up. Elmer always made the time for reading or hearing a good story and many times, he was our shoulder to lean on, but, he didn’t have the time of day for any BS. Elmer loved his family more than anything. He was especially close to his mother. He sent her special cards and gifts from overseas and never left her side during her illness. He had great affection and reverence for his aunts and uncles. He was proud and spent countless times working, visiting and trucking in the 18- wheeler with his dad, his brother, Jerry, and nephew, Justin. One of the highlights of his life, was taking a backcountry trip on his sister-in-law, Cathy’s, horse, Togy Blue. He was so thankful and proud of the memories he made on that adventure. Elmer loved his little sister and stood by her through thick and thin. Elmer held a special place in his heart for his sibling’s and cousin’s children, and was a constant supporter and mentor. He came along side of us. He was so proud of our accomplishments and he would get mad as a hornet at our heartaches…but we still knew, he was always “there” for us. He once said his favorite place was at his brother’s church. Elmer respected, cared for, and at times, humored, his friends and family “up north” and enjoyed his many years, in the North Fork. He spent these years working and volunteering, with the great neighbors he had over the years. Elmer spent special times with his friend, Alma Reder. Elmer held his memories close to him, of the people, wildlife, beautiful trees, rivers and his little cabin in the woods. He found peace in the sunrises, watching the northern lights dance in the night sky and he never took his eye off of that northern star.
Elmer was a talented farmer, service man, builder, photographer, truck driver, hunter, a skilled equipment operator and foreman. Elmer loved showing and telling about the homes and projects he was working on. He had an innate eye and gave great attention to detail in the homes he built.
Elmer served on North Valley Search and Rescue, North Fork Sheriff Department Patrol and he was president of the North Fork Land Owners Association. Elmer was loyal, committed and honest. He always showed up in the best and worst of times.
One could count on Elmer to be there, no matter what. Elmer would say “grab your boots and gloves and let’s get to work.” Elmer’s encouraging spirit would remind one to always keep your head up and stay strong. Elmer believed we should forgive, but never forget the lesson life was trying to teach us. He taught, by example, and through his words, that there wasn’t much a person couldn’t get through, if you have great friends, good books, a can of WD-40, or a walk, alone with Jesus. He enjoyed a good meal, a funny story, and he would “laugh until he bawled” at a good story, a humorous flick, such as, Jerry Clower’s “Ain’t God Good?…anyone for some “appela pie and coffee?”… and we did the same… when he would share a knee-slapping yarn with us.
Elmer lived through many trials, including the loss of loved ones, floods, and a devastating forest fire, which took many of his treasured keepsakes…just to name a few...but he was a fighter, and never gave up in a crisis. Even the diagnosis of a serious illness didn’t daunt him and he gave it all he had. He always had hope that the best is yet to come and he believed, received and lived… I John 3:16…”by this we know love, because He laid down His life for us and we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Now he is resting “high on that mountain” with Jesus.
He is survived by his children, Carol Lynn and Garey. His brothers, Duane Benson and wife, Edith, Jerry Benson and wife, Cathy; his nieces, Violet Benson, Stephanie and, husband, Tad Lepinski, Brenda Benson, Michaela Nelson and Larissa Landry, Kindi, Shianne, and Bailey Benson, Hope and Faith Benson; his nephews, Justin Benson and, wife, Pauline, Daryn Benson and wife, Jessica, Daryl Benson, Bucky Nelson, Byron Benson and Scout Benson, Aunt Bonnie Benson and her family, several cousins and beloved friends.
He was preceeded in death by his grandparents, Elmer and Emma Benson, Arthur and Harriett Jeffries; parents, Elmer and Lula; sisters, Carol Benson and Janet Pruett; Uncle, Jack Benson; and Aunt and Uncle, Melvin and Emma Vestre, friend, Alma Reder, and several closes relatives and friends.
The family would like to thank Lynn and Bonnie Ogle for the love and special care they showed Elmer, the kind staff at Hospice and Meals on Wheels, the care and kindness of his many pards. of the North Fork, as well as, his neighbors, at the Blue and White Motel.
A viewing will be held on Wednesday July 1st, 2020 from 3 to 5 PM at Darlington Funeral Home, 3408 US Hwy 2 East, Kalispell. Funeral services will be held on Thursday July 2nd, 2020 at Victory Baptist Church, 1830 MT Hwy 35, Kalispell. Interment will follow at CE Conrad Memorial Cemetery with military honors. A reception will follow the interment at the church.
Although the family would be honored for you to join them to celebrate Elmer’s life, due to Covid 19, there is no obligation to attend services at this time.
Darlington Funeral Home is caring for Elmer’s family.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Elmer Benson, please visit our floral store.