Rodney Eugene Benson was born March 11, 1939 on the family farm in Mahnomen County, Minnesota to Richmond and Ruth Benson, a first-generation immigrant family from Norway.
When his father sold the farm for a more secure job in the city, he and his four siblings moved to Duluth. There, he met his future wife Kathleen Seehus at Holiness Methodist youth group, where he listened intently to the Word for months. At 15, he accepted his Lord Savior on Christmas Eve kneeling by his bedside, committing his life to Christ every day thereafter.
Passionate about planes even as a young man, he took Kathy on many dates, walking around the local airport’s flightline-- and after two years of engagement, he married the love of his life in 1962.
Putting himself through college by working nights as a bellhop and grocery clerk, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from University of Minnesota and entered the U.S. Air Force in 1964 as an officer.
He served as a fighter pilot for seven years, flying over 100 missions in North Vietnam and Laos. After his service, he flew for Northwest Airlines and then started a career in healthcare management.
Throughout his life, he volunteered as a Sunday school teacher and church board member. He spent much of his time in Indiana, where he raised his family. He was a pillar of the global Wesleyan community, involved in short-term missions work to Haiti, Chile, and Honduras. He served on multiple boards of directors, including Kingdom Building Ministries, Wesleyan Church Native American ministries, Kingswood University, Trinity Wesleyan church, and the Wesleyan church pension and retirement boards. As a snowbird living in Brooksville, he was Vice President to the board of Wesleyan Bible Conference Association.
He maintained a lifelong passion of working with his hands-- crafting everything from delicate doll furniture to an experimental airplane to a tornado-proof house.
Even with these accomplishments, his greatest vocation was being a family man. He and Kathy had four children: Mark (Vonda), Daniel (Karen), Kaylynn (Stephen), and David (Sarah), whom he loved dearly. He laid a foundation of character and faith for generations, leading a humble life of service to God, country, and others.
He is survived by his loving wife Kathy of 58 years, his four children, 18 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00pm, Friday, February 12, 2021 at Brooksville Wesleyan Church, with Pastor Jerry Pence officiating.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Wesleyan Bible Conference Association at the address listed below or by clicking on the following link: https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/rod-benson-memorial-fund.
Fly high, and fly Home at last.
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Wesleyan Bible Conference Association
8225 Wesley Drive, Brooksville FL 34601