Richard Lynn Benson

Richard Lynn Benson

Death 6 Nov 2011 (aged 72)
Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska, USA
Burial Sidney, Fremont County, Iowa, USA
Memorial ID 80047239 · View Source
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Richard Lynn Benson, eldest son of Gilbert and Nella Baird Benson of Sidney, Iowa, died of complications from cancer on November 6, 2011 at the Clarkson Hospital in Omaha. He was 72.

Lynn was born on July 2, 1939 in Omaha, Nebraska and grew up on the Benson "Belvedere" century family farm founded by his great-grandfather Gaylord Benson in 1881. He was a 1957 graduate of Sidney High School and received his bachelor's degree in animal science in 1961 and his master's degree in extension education in 1974, both from Iowa State University.

On August 14, 1960, Lynn was united in marriage with Marilyn Joy Brownlee of Farragut, whom he first met at a 4-H dance when they were both in high school. In 2010, they celebrated their 50th anniversary together with their four children and nine grandchildren.

After college, Lynn and Marilyn moved to Valentine, Nebraska where Lynn spent a year working with a purebred Hereford cattle operation. In 1963, he began a successful 32-year career with the ISU Extension Service that included appointments in Shelby, Mills, Fremont, Page and Story counties, the Southwest Iowa Area Extension Office, and the State 4-H Staff. In 1973, he received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of 4-H Extension Agents.

After the death of his father Gilbert in 1976, Lynn and family moved back to the family farm in Sidney. For several years, he operated the family farm while continuing to work for ISU Extension in Council Bluffs, Clarinda, and Red Oak.

Upon retiring from Extension in 1996, Lynn and Marilyn traveled often to visit children and grandchildren while remaining fiercely loyal to their Iowa community. Lynn was a proud alumnus of Iowa State University and FarmHouse fraternity. He also served on the Board of Directors for the Wallace Foundation for Rural Research and Development. Lynn was an active member of the Sidney United Methodist Church. He served as president of the Fremont County Historical Society, continuing in a family tradition begun by his father Gilbert who also served for many years as president.

Lynn devoted countless hours restoring the old First Baptist Church on the corner of Cass and Ohio streets in Sidney into "The Gathering Place," the Historical Society's Educational and Performing Arts Center. Over the years, The Gathering Place has become a lively center for local music, theater, art, and community fellowship. In 2005, Lynn and Marilyn were honored at the Iowa State Fair as "Iowans for a Day" for their many years of community service.

Theater was a passionate interest for Lynn and his wife Marilyn. For many years, they served as board members of the Southwest Iowa Theater Group in Shenandoah, where they directed, acted, and built sets for numerous theater productions. A highlight of their theater career was when they played Ethel and Norman Thayer (the "old poop") in On Golden Pond. As Lynn often said, "Marilyn says I was 'type cast' for that role!"
Lynn and Marilyn also produced and directed theater productions at the Sidney United Methodist Church, notably the Easter passion play, and at The Gathering Place, such as Mark Twain and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Preceding Lynn in death were his parents and his brother A.D. Lynn is survived by his wife Marilyn; his four children and their spouses: Rod and Kelly Benson of New York City; Kim and Ken High of Cary, North Carolina; Brenda and Andrew Werth of Wilmette, Illinois; and Rebecca and Mark Ferley of Chesapeake, Virginia; nine grandchildren: Thomas and Peter Benson; Elise and Anna High; Alexandra, Victoria, and Charlie Werth; and Alec and Nicole Ferley; and two sisters and their families, Linda Peterson of Lincoln, Nebraska and Kaye Hummel of Earlham, Iowa.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting that any gifts be directed to the Lynn Benson Memorial Fund, which will be allocated to The Gathering Place and the Sidney United Methodist Church.

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  • Created by: Forever Searching †
  • Added: 7 Nov 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 80047239
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Richard Lynn Benson (2 Jul 1939–6 Nov 2011), Find A Grave Memorial no. 80047239, citing Sidney Cemetery, Sidney, Fremont County, Iowa, USA ; Maintained by Forever Searching † (contributor 47578585) .