Mary Ann Benson went home to be with the Lord on the evening of September 1, 2020, at the age of 90 after a yearlong battle with cancer. She was at home being comforted and cared for by her loving family.

Mary Ann was born on January 3, 1930, in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, to Ernest and Beth (Fulton) Kennel and grew up as a farm girl sharing chores with her sister Betty and brother Jim. 

She was only 13 when she left the farm to attend high school at Morris Agricultural School. She was baking bread when the school representative came to visit at their home. He said anyone who could bake bread like that was old enough to attend the school. 

She met the love of her life, Robert Benson while attending college in Valley City, North Dakota. They were married December 27, 1950 at the Little Brown Church in the Vale. Mary Ann and Bob enjoyed nearly 70 years of adventurous marriage. Their journey together took them to make their home in California, Missouri, North Dakota, Minnesota, and finally to Montana in 1963. A perfect date night for her was dinner, dancing, and wine. 

Mary Ann loved decorating her home, especially adding little notes, sayings and reminders in every room inspiring her walk with the Lord. She was a deeply devoted, faithful Christian. She shared her love of the Lord with her family her whole life. Mary Ann loved her daily walks. The Clancy community could set their clocks by her morning walks which were her devotional time. 

Mary Ann loved spending time with her family and friends, filling her heart and soul with love. She accompanied her family for over 50 years on camping trips to Holland Lake in northwestern Montana. She enjoyed the hike to Holland Lake Falls, accomplishing it one more time at the age of 87. She enjoyed the privilege of making more than 30 trips to Alaska to spend time with her two grandsons who grew up in Palmer, Alaska. 

Mary Ann’s number one vocation was wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She worked at the Clancy Post Office for many years, 17 of those years commuting from Manhattan, Montana. She retired from the Post Office in 1989. 

Mary Ann was greeted in Heaven by her parents, Ernest and Beth Kennel; daughter-in-law, Diane Benson; son-in-law, Bill Gruber; and brother-in-law, Eldon Peterson. 

Mary Ann is survived by her husband, Bob; sister, Betty Peterson; brother, James Kennel (Karen); children, Vicki Gruber, Mary Bair (Bill Hoffmann), Mike Benson (Becky), Deb LaRue (Dean), and Pat Bercier. Grandchildren include Cami Robson (Greg), Marci Parks (Chad), Nic Bair (Vicki), Corri Barry (Chris), Lance LaRue, Shelbi Grove, Shane LaRue (Nicole Smeenk), and Kahsiah Benson. Great grandchildren: Dominic Bair, JP Robson, Will Robson, Luke Robson, Cate Barry, Dawson Parks, Kyli Barry, Alli Parks, Jaci Barry, Matti Parks and Cade Parks. 

A private graveside service with her family will be held for Mary Ann at the VA cemetery. 

Mary Ann requested that memorials be sent to The Mary Ann Benson Memorial Fund for Christian Bible Camp Registrations. Funds may be sent to Clancy United Methodist Church, PO Box 30, Clancy MT 59634. 

Simple Cremation Montana has assisted the family. To view the tribute page or share remembrances, visit:

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