Clair Godfrey Benzen, 94, of Braham, Minn., formerly of Huntley, Minn., passed away peacefully at GracePointe Crossing East Gables in Cambridge, Minn., on Saturday, April 9, 2011.
Clair was born at home in Sedgwick, Colo., the eighth of nine children, to Emma (Younglund) and Godfrey Benzen. When he was nine- years-old his mother died and he and two brothers were placed in a children’s home in Holdrege, Neb. where he lived until graduating from Holdrege High School in 1936.
The following spring, after working odd jobs in Nebraska, Clair hopped a freight train to southern Minnesota where he worked for several farmers. In 1941 he enlisted in the Army Air Force. After training in several locations all around the U.S., Clair was sent to England on the Queen Mary in 1942. He was stationed at the Chelveston Air Base where he was a mechanic on B-17 bombers during the bombing missions over Germany until the war ended in 1945. In 1949, Clair returned to the children’s home in Holdrege where he was employed as farm manager. It was here he met his wife, Muriel (Kreitz) who was also working there. They were married in 1950 at the Richfield, Minnesota Evangelical Free Church. Clair and Muriel moved back to the Huntley, Minn. area in 1951 where they farmed and raised three children, retiring in 1984.
Clair accepted the Lord as his personal savior at the age of 18 at a revival meeting. Throughout his life his commitment to the Lord continued through his family, his church, and his integrity.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Muriel in 2000, five brothers, four sisters, and numerous cousins.
Clair is survived by his daughter Linda Schmiedeberg of Fosston, Minn.; sons Jim (Lynette) Benzen of Plymouth, Minn., and John (Janette) Benzen of Braham, Minn.; Seven Grandchildren: Matthew Schmiedeberg, Justine (Bryan) Ryba, Jillian Benzen, MacCoy Benzen, Ross (Marianne) Benzen, Hugh Benzen, and Nora Benzen; Great grandchildren Natalie and Eli Benzen, and an expected great granddaughter; a half brother and sister; also many other relatives and friends.
A Funeral service will be held Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. at the Stanchfield Baptist Church with Rev. Dale Cope officiating. Visitation will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. prior to the service at church. Music will be provided by Ross Benzen, Randy Plageman, Pam Theline. Casketbearers are Clair’s seven grandchildren. Interment will be at 2 p.m. in the Hillside Cemetery of Minneapolis. Military Honors will be provided by the MN National Guard. Arrangements were by the Rock Ingebrand Funeral Home of Braham.