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Norma Jean Benson

January 5, 2019 | 5 comments

Norma Jean Benson, 85, of Winona, passed away on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at Sauer Health Care of Winona, after a short illness. She was born in Canton Township, Fillmore County, MN on January 10, 1933 to Francis 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. She married Bernard Arthur Benson on September 14, 1952 in her parent’s home in Fountain, MN. 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, cub scout den-mother, Tupperware dealer, family historian and busy member of 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 is 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, MN; grandchildren, Brita (Mark) Hayes of Nevada, IA, Marni (Colton) Franzeen of Ankeny, IA, Jason (Laura) of Chaska, MN, Andrew (Amanda) of Woodbury, MN, Bradley (Cheryl) of Lakeville, MN; sister-in-law, Judy Benson of Winona; brother, Gary (Debra) Russell of Rochester, MN; sisters, Lois (Gavin) Grob of Oelwein, IA and Hallie (Alex) Kister of Grantville, GA; and her first great-grandchild, Henry Bernard. As requested, no memorial service is planned. Memorials in her honor can be directed to Wesley United Methodist Church.



  1. Anne Furan Spartz

    My heart is heavy knowing you are no longer on earth. Now all your genealogy questions have been answered as they were all there to greet you and you knew them all by name! I loved our trips to Madison together! Rest In Peace, dear Friend! A donation in your honor/memory will be given to Winona Area Genealogy Society

  2. Rev Kathy Schuler

    I am Aryn Arnold’s mom- she swam w/ Brittany & Marnie. I knew Norma from swim meets, church & the History Center! Always so enjoyed her!
    I hadn’t remember her parents were in Fountain- Aryn’s grandparents lived there! My sympathies to all of you!

  3. Betty and Peter Smith

    We are so sorry to hear of Norma’s death. We met through our genaeology research and the love of researching our family. She will be missed.

  4. Joliene

    Norma, I just can’t say good bye so I will just say, “see you later” and I know you are laughing at this. You will be missed by all of us at Wesley UMC. You brightened our Monday morning as part of our small group and we will miss you and your smile. You are loved and missed dear friend.

  5. Mary Ann Johnson

    So sorry to hear about Norma’s passing. I have just moved and wanted to get in touch with her again. She has done some Genealogy research for me, and it seems she is related somehow. I guess she’s the only one who knows this now. Blessings to the family. I think I met a Pam at Hardee’s Fast Foods. Rest in Peace Norma. Mary Ann Johnson

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