Russell Lowell Benson, 85, World War II veteran and longtime cattle buyer on the Hi-Line, died of natural causes at Sweet Nursing Home in Chinook on Sept. 20, 2007.
Burial with military honors will be at the Harlem cemetery at 1p.m. on Tuesday, followed by a memorial service at 3:30 p.m. at the Lloyd Sweet Auditorium at the Chinook High School. Russell was born at the family home near Tweet on Aug. 5, 1922, to Ed and Cora (Quackenbush) Benson. He attended school in Hogeland and Harlem and graduated from Harlem High School. Russell entered the army on Jan. 3, 1941. He became a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne Division as a demolition specialist, and parachuted in on D-Day. He and four of his brothers were on active duty at the same time during World War II. All five men returned safely home. Russell received a purple heart, a good conduct medal and a bronze star after being wounded in France. He was honorably discharged on Oct. 23, 1945. On March 25, 1948, Russell married Cora Emerson in Havre. They raised their family in Harlem where Russell was active in various community activities including serving on the city council, stock growers and bank boards. He did a variety of jobs over the years and eventually found his true calling as a cattle buyer. Other than his family, especially his grandchildren, he enjoyed nothing more than buying and selling good cattle in northern Montana. This love stayed with him to the very end of his life. Russell and Cora moved to Chinook in 1972, then south of Zurich in 1974, back to Chinook in 1977, and to Fort Benton in 2001 where they enjoyed retirement along the Missouri River. For health reasons they moved back to Havre in 2003. Russell was preceded in death by Cora, his wife of 56 years, in 2004, his parents, siblings Dick, Ray, Dorothy, Bud, Harris, and Harold. He is survived by sons Bernard (Mary) Bell of England, Bruce (Terrie) Benson of Tallahassee, Fla., daughters Barbara (Stan) Weber of Denver, and Betty (Mark) Billmayer of Chinook, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, sister Lois Nelle of Blaine, Wash., brothers Bob (Lois)of Big Sandy and Keith (Gen) of Harlem. Memorials may be sent to the activity fund at the Sweet Nursing Home, 125 Airport Road, Chinook, MT 59523 or to a charity of ones choice. The family has entrusted the care of their loved one to Edwards Funeral Home in Chinook.