Irma Jean Benson was born to Glenn Martin and Bessie Ruth (Aldrich) Benson on July 20, 1935 at her parents’ home on the shores of Little Turtle Lake in Itasca County, Minnesota. She was the sixth of eight siblings.
She died peacefully in her home in Lake of the Woods County on October 1, 2016.
As a young child, Irma attended both Marcell School and Jessie Lake School. When it was time for her to attend high school, she spent the school week at Deer River High School’s Dormitory. She made lifelong friends during her days there and some of her fondest memories are from her ‘dorm days’. She graduated from Deer River High School in 1953.
In her teen years, Irma worked at Arcadia Resort and she helped her mother raise chickens to sell. As an adult, butchering chickens was something she always enjoyed.
After graduation, she starting working at Gertie’s Café in Coleraine. Gertie’s nephew LaVerne, was a young serviceman just returned from Korea. This is where the two started spending time together before LaVerne moved to the cities to find work. Irma frequently told the story about moving to the cities shortly thereafter with LaVerne’s sister Sylvia hoping the friendship would continue. While there, she worked in a Montgomery Ward Department Store where she moved around the large store on roller skates.
Irma was right. The friendship between her & LaVerne did continue. They moved back to Itasca County and married in Coleraine on July 3, 1954.
Their first home together was an apartment in Coleraine where LaVerne worked at the local newspaper and she took care of the home. They lived in various locations in Itasca County and three children were born to them there.
In September 1959, the family moved back to the cities but struggled to find work. Irma worked with the Bell Telephone Company and for Pierson’s Candy. It wasn’t long before LaVerne was employed by General Services Administration and Irma became a stay at home mom. One more child was born to the couple in St. Paul and in 1964, LaVerne was transferred to Duluth MN. In 1965, LaVerne’s final transfer was to the new Federal Building/Post Office in Baudette. One more son was born and Lake of the Woods County became their forever home.
When her youngest child started kindergarten and her oldest child joined the Marines – on the same day – Irma joined the workforce once again. She worked at home for Tom’s Tackle, she worked for Dorow’s Mink Pelting Plant, Wabanica Products and finally settled in as a cook at the Hungry Hobo Drive In. She remained there through many owners and name changes and was a dear friend to numerous young people that worked their first job with her.
Irma was an amazing cook and seamstress and made many wedding and bridesmaid dresses for her children’s and grandchildren’s weddings. She loved the Minnesota Twins and was never happier than when she was spending time with her husband, children and many grandchildren. The highlight of her year was the family’s annual camping trip at Faunce Campground.
Snowmobiling was a favorite past time for her in the 70s when she was a member of the Drifters Snowmobile Club and she was a lifelong volunteer as a 4H Leader. The Pitt Community Church was always near and dear to Irma’s heart. Many of her family members were married there with Irma proudly looking on.
She’s survived by her husband of 62 years and her five children Rocky (Lori), Kenny (Terri), Sandy (Pete), Marty (Pam) and Jeff (Vickey); 17 grandkids and 38 great-grandkids; two brothers, four sisters and her dear sisters- and brothers-in-law.
She was preceded in death by her parents, one brother, one granddaughter and one great-grandson.
A Memorial Service for Irma J. Thompson of Baudette, MN will be held on Friday, October 7, 2016 at 1:00PM at Pitt Community Church in Pitt, MN. Visitation will be held on Thursday, October 6, 2016 from 5-7PM with a prayer service at 7PM at the Pitt Community Church and also one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be held at a later date.