Richard “Dick” Benson, age 84, of Olivia died Friday, November 1, 2019 at RenVilla Health Services in Renville where he has resided since July, 2018. Mass of Christian Burial is Friday, November 8th at 10:30 a.m. at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Olivia with Rev. Joe Steinbeisser as celebrant. Burial is in the church cemetery. Visitation is Thursday, November 7th from 5-7 p.m. at Dirks-Blem Funeral Home in Olivia with a prayer service at 7:00 p.m. Visitation continues Friday at the church for one hour prior to the funeral.
Richard Dale Benson was born Oct. 2, 1935 near Puposky, MN to Ray & Alice (Vonau) Benson. In Richard’s younger years he showed great promise as a left handed pitcher. At 16 years of age, his family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska where he played on the local men’s baseball team. He had exceptional speed with both his curve ball and drop balls and was soon scouted by the Semi-Pros. He was predicted to have a very successful baseball career until he developed bursitis in his shoulder and was unable to continue playing. Richard and his brother, Rodney then started up Benson Livestock Company (a feeder pig business) where they bought and sold feeder pigs in Minnesota, Iowa and Canada for over 50 years. On November 9, 1963 he married Rose Ann Herdina from Olivia where they made their home for 25 years. Baseball was such a huge part of Richard’s life that many family outings were often to a Twins game in Minneapolis and he taught many of the children and grandchildren how to pitch, catch, and hit. After Rose Ann passed away, he married Barbara Freiborg on October 17, 1992. They made their home in Olivia for 26 years and recently moved to Renville a year ago.
Richard is survived by his wife Barbara Freiborg-Benson of Renville; his nine children: Joy (Greg) Helmer of Duluth, MN, Jeff (Sandy) Benson of Olivia, Larry Benson of Olivia, Galen (Marie) Benson of Tucson, AZ, Marlene Benson of Deer River, MN, Deb Tilton of Wasilla, AK, Jim Benson of Maple Lake, MN, Darlene Benson of Olivia, John (Jennifer) Benson of Danube; 19 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren; six step-children: Todd (Peggy) Freiborg of Sacred Heart, Jody (Pam) Freiborg of Willmar, Dawn (Paul) Gartner of Olivia, Robin (Jim) Kleinhuizen of Danube, Lisa Freiborg of Whitefish, MT, Shawna (Ron) Asher of Minneapolis; 11 step-grandchildren and nine step-great-grandchildren; his brother Rodney (Martha) Benson of Puposky; and his sister Elaine (Larry) Wynne of Minneapolis. Richard was preceded in death by his parents Ray & Alice (Vonau) Benson; first wife Rose Ann Benson; one infant child; and his brother Robert Benson.
Dirks-Blem Funeral Service offers many styles of services to honor the memory of your loved one. Funerals should be meaningful, reflect the individual, and celebrate the life they led. Personalized funerals are more involved, giving people a chance to remember what made that individual so unique.