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Charles S. Benson, 83

Charles Samuel Benson, age 83, of Bloomington, formerly of Cokato, passed away Thursday, March 16, 2017.

Charles was born June 7 1933, on the Benson farm in Cokato, to parents Clarence and Hazel Benson, the third of six siblings.

He was baptized and confirmed at North Crow River Lutheran Church in Knapp, attended rural grade school at the Myrback School, and graduated from Cokato High School in 1951.

Charles served in the US Army from 1953 to 1955. He took advantage of the GI bill to attend college at the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State, where he graduated with a degree in elementary education in 1959.

In 1962, he received a master’s degree in art education from Northern Colorado University in Greeley, CO.

Charles married Janet Berkland Oct. 14, 1961, and they moved to Germany, where Charles taught at the Frankfurt American School. Charles and Janet traveled extensively during their years abroad.

In 1964, they returned to Minnesota, and Charles began teaching in the Edina Public Schools. They purchased a home in Edina, where they lived for 45 years and raised their two daughters.

Charles taught art in Edina for 29 years, both at the junior high and elementary school level, retiring in June 1993.

In retirement, Charles and Jan spent winter months in Sun City West, AZ. In 2010, they moved out of their Edina home to join the community at Applewood Pointe in Bloomington. Jan passed away in October 2014.

A creative artist, Charles was a member of the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, and Weavers West in Sun City West, AZ. He was known for his Scandinavian rag rugs, which were displayed at many venues in the Twin Cities and at the Cokato Museum.

Charles was also a trained floral designer, volunteering his services for church, family, and friends. He had a gift for bringing the perfect floral arrangements to special occasions.

In addition, he was an avid gardener and member of the Men’s and Women’s Garden Club of Minneapolis. He maintained beautiful garden and flower beds at both his Minnesota and Arizona homes that were admired by many.

Charles loved his family. He valued time with Janet and his daughters, celebrating their Scandinavian heritage and creating and maintaining family traditions. He warmly welcomed his sons-in-law into the family, and adored his grandchildren!

Charles had a strong Christian faith. In 1965, he and Janet joined Woodlake Lutheran Church, and in Arizona, they were members of Lord of Life Lutheran Church. At Woodlake, Charles was actively involved in congregational life, including service on multiple committees. His strong faith sustained him throughout his entire life and was at the core of his values and beliefs.

Charles enjoyed traveling, both near and far. He was the driver on countless family car trips across the United States. He loved a good estate sale; always on the lookout for something special that he could refresh and gift to friends and family. In addition, Charles enjoyed volunteering for Ebenezer Hands and Hearts, preparing for and working at estate sales.

Charles will be remembered for his love of family and friends, his creative gifts, and his wry sense of humor.

In addition to his wife, Janet, Charles was preceded in death by his parents, Hazel and Clarence Benson, and his sister, Jean Rice.

He is survived by daughters and sons-in-law, Andrea Benson and Scott McLaughlin; and Kara and Justin Barrow; grandchildren Sophia, Isabel, Brendan and Julian; siblings Daniel (Mona) Benson, Rodney (Kay) Benson, Pauline Bratt, and Philip (Kris) Benson; brother-in-law Gene (Jan) Rice; and many other family members and friends.

A memorial service took place Tuesday, March 21 at 11 a.m. at Woodlake Lutheran Church in Richfield. Interment was at Lakewood Cemetery.

Morris Nilsen Chapel in Richfield handled the arrangements.

Memorials are preferred to Woodlake Heritage Endowment Fund.

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