Benson, Norma Jean


Norma Jean Benson, 85, of Winona, passed away on January 5, 2019, at Sauer Health Care of Winona, after a short illness. She was born in Canton Township, Fillmore County, Minn., on January 10, 1933, to Francis and Eugene “Gene” Willard Russell and Alphild Lydia Johanna Kvam Russell. She graduated from Canton High School in 1950.

Norma was a Miss Winona pageant contestant. She had worked for Watkins and NECO ordnance. Norma married Bernard Arthur Benson on September 14, 1952, in her parents’ home in Fountain, Minn. Norma and Bernard lived in Winona and had four sons, David, Richard, Robert and Michael. After Bernard’s death in 1989 she continued to live in their home until 2011 when, after her son Richard’s death, she moved to The Kensington.

Norma was an active member of many women’s circles at Wesley United Methodist Church, a Cub Scout den mother, a Tupperware dealer, the family historian, and a busy member of both the Winona Genealogy Roundtable and Winona County Historical Society. Forever in touch with scores of family relatives, Norma always had a new story to share or important family event to record. She loved sharing her afternoon coffee hours with her favorite sisters-in-law at the local hangout and the great bunch of gals at The Kensington.

Norma was preceded in death by her parents; husband; and sons, Sargent First Class Michael in 2005 and Richard in 2011. She is survived by sons, David (Gena) of Winona, and Robert (Michelle) of Rosemount, Minn.; grandchildren, Brita (Mark) Hayes of Nevada, Iowa, Marni (Colton) Franzeen of Ankeny, Iowa, Jason (Laura) of Chaska, Minn., Andrew (Amanda) of Woodbury, Minn., Bradley (Cheryl) of Lakeville, Minn.; sister-in-law, Judy Benson of Winona; brother, Gary (Debra) Russell of Rochester, Minn.; and sisters, Lois (Gavin) Grob of Oelwein, Iowa, and Hallie (Alex) Kister of Grantville, Ga.; and her first great-grandchild, Henry Bernard.

As requested, no memorial service is planned. Cremation services will be entrusted to Coulee Region Cremation Group of Onalaska, Wis. Memorials can be directed to Wesley United Methodist Church.


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