Donald Benson

Donald Ralph Benson, 86, of Jefferson, died Monday, December 28, 2015 at the Greene County Medical Center in Jefferson, Iowa.

A service of remembrance was held at 10:00 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 at The Dwelling Place in Jefferson. Words of comfort were provided by Rev. Rod Block. Honorary casket bearers were “Grandsons”: Noah Benson, Jon Benson, Bob Benson, Dan Benson, Matthew Benson, Andrew Benson, Ben Altes, Steven Johnson, Justin Benson, Nick Benson and Joe Benson. Casket bearers were Gerry Halterman, Tom Yepsen, Greg Karber, Marvin Rasmussen, Doug Waldo and Nelson Carman. The music played was “Praise Him”, “Hope Of The World”, “I Surrender” and “Cornerstone”. Interment was at Jefferson Cemetery.

Donald Benson was born on May 5, 1929 to Ralph and Helen (Custer) Benson in Ames, Iowa. He grew up on the family farm near Jefferson, where he attended school and graduated in 1947.

He met Kathleen Joan Dool while in school at Iowa State University in Ames and they were united in marriage on November 22, 1950. Don was farming the family farm where he grew up and that’s where they started their married life. They were blessed with five children: David, William, Richard, Teresa and Michael.

Don had a dairy operation until 1965, and continued to have a diversified farming operation with hogs and cattle over the years. In 1957, he was presented the Outstanding Young Farmer Award by the Jefferson Jaycees. He served in the Iowa National Guard, served on both the Greene County Fair Board and the Jefferson Community School Board and was a 29 year Rotary Club member. Don’s great grandfather was one of the first settlers in Greene County and Don was able to accept a Heritage Farm award for the home farm at the Iowa State Fair in 2009. Over the years Don always liked to keep on the cutting edge of agriculture.

Don was an entrepreneur. He was always looking for new challenges. Don and Kathy met while roller skating before they started dating, so building a skating rink in Jefferson was a dream of theirs. Maranatha Skateland was a place that the youth of the community could spend their weekends, and Don and Kathy enjoyed their time operating it, as well as the second one they built in Carroll. Even in his later years, he met many people who “grew up” in the skating rinks and even took their own children there. Don and Kathy celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on November 22nd. Kathy was the love of his life, and they were very seldom apart. Their years together were always full of adventure, on the farm and on the many family vacations and all the traveling they have done in their retirement years. He looked forward every summer to family vacation trips to lakes in Wisconsin and Iowa as well as camping trips to Colorado. Don loved to drive the boat while the kids waterskied, and we have pictures proving that he once skied himself with his hat on. The most memorable trip he and Kathy made in later years was a two month trip to Alaska in their motor home.

Serving the Lord was very important to both Don and Kathy. They have been active in their church all their lives. Don was a leader in the local Full Gospel Businessmen chapter in Jefferson. He also helped to bring Billy Graham evangelistic films to the community. A men’s bible study was held in the Benson basement for many years until Don’s health began to fail. He has ministered over the years to many young men and helped guide them in their faith and has built many lasting friendships.

Family was Don’s most important legacy. He is survived by his wife, Kathy; a sister-in-law, Virginia Downs; his children, Dave (Karen) Benson of West Lafayette, IN; Bill (Molly) Benson of Carroll, Iowa; Dick (Denise) Benson of Tulsa, OK; Teri (Paul) Johnson of Deep River, IA; and Mike (Kris) Benson of Jefferson; his grandchildren Noah Benson, Kyle (Erick) Morales, Samantha (Greg) Pauley, Janelle (Justin) Kaiser, Bob Benson, Elizabeth Benson, Jon Benson, Dan Benson, Matthew (Allison) Benson, Andrew Benson, Jenny (Trung) Tran, Ben Altes, Katey Johnson, Steven Johnson, Justin Benson, Nick Benson and Joe Benson; eight great grandchildren; and many, many friends.

Memorials may be left to The Dwelling Place in Jefferson, IA or New Hope in Carroll, IA. Services were arranged by Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home of Jefferson.

Contact Us

Jefferson Bee & Herald
Address: 200 N. Wilson St.
Jefferson, IA 50129

Phone:(515) 386-4161