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Barbara (Vorseth) Benson, age 85, passed away on April 5, 2020, in Bountiful, Utah, following a brief illness. She was born on August 2, 1934, in Washington Township, Clark County, South Dakota, to Selmer and Marjorie (McLain) Vorseth. Along with her brother Marvin and sister Shirley, Barbara was raised on a centennial family farm, attended Washington School #42, and graduated from Bryant High School. After high school, Barbara attended Dakota State University, returned to teach at Washington School #42, and eventually accepted a teaching position in Hayti, South Dakota. In Hayti, she met fellow teacher and future husband Vernon Benson, and they were married on May 26, 1956. Barbara and Vernon later accepted new teaching positions in Watertown, South Dakota, and lived there with their sons Greg and Mark until 1964.

Barbara and her family next moved to Big Rapids, Michigan, where she was a preschool director and Vernon was a professor at Ferris State University. She subsequently earned a BS degree in mathematics education from Ferris State University in 1971 and was employed by the Big Rapids Public Schools until her retirement in 1988. In retirement, Barbara extensively researched her family history and produced dozens of volumes of information dating back many centuries and generations. Barbara and Vernon traveled to many parts of the country to visit libraries and gravesites, and attend family reunions. They also made two trips to Norway to visit ancestral sites and meet distant relatives. In addition, Barbara was an active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution for more than 30 years.

Barbara and Vernon spent most of their retirement years in Grand Rapids, Michigan, before moving to Utah in late 2018 to be near their son Greg. Vernon died soon after in early 2019, but Barbara thrived as a resident at North Canyon Care Center through her involvement in many activities and performances, her frequent visits and outings with immediate family, her role as president of the resident council, and her positive example and interactions with many residents, staff, and visitors.

Barbara is survived by her son, Greg Benson (Bountiful, Utah); grandson, Scott Benson (Bountiful, Utah); great-grandson, Joshua Benson; her son and daughter-in-law, Mark and Beth Benson (Yardley, Pennsylvania); granddaughter, Jennifer Benson (Claremont, New Hampshire), grandson, Christopher Benson (Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania); her sister and brother-in-law, Shirley and Don Tobias (Phoenix, Arizona); and many cousins, nephews, and nieces. She was preceded in death by her husband, Vernon Benson; parents, Selmer and Marjorie Vorseth; brother and sister-in-law, Marvin and Delores Vorseth; and daughter-in-law, Barb Benson.

Barbara’s family is exceedingly grateful to North Canyon Care Center and special caregiver and friend Linda Gross. Those who would like to make a memorial donation are invited to contribute to the Christ Lutheran Church Memorial Fund (2350 44th St SW, Wyoming MI 49519) or a charity of their choice. A service in memory of Barbara will be held in Michigan on a date to be determined.

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Barbara’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:

Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, (616) 452-3006, honored providers of Veterans Funeral Care.


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12 Condolences

  1. ToneA. Vorseth Graneggen on April 15, 2020 at 11:28 am

    We are very sorry to hear about Barbaras death. The pleasure was great when Barbara and her family visited us in Byneset 1994 and in 2000. She was very interested in her relation and the relationship with us at Byneset.
    She was a very warm, wise, open, dedicated and engaged woman. When they were at Byneset in occacion of the 2000 years jubilee, we visited the birth place of her ancestors, a small, small farm called *Flokkahaugen*. There she found a rest of a rasberry bush, and she brought a little bit of this in her suit-case home to America.
    We remember that Vernon was very interested in learning Norwegian. He brought with him a little book with Norwegian words, and he used it often.
    Barbara gave us a book she had researched and compiled about the descendants of Johan and Anne Pedersdatter Olsen of Byneset, we are so grateful.
    Our children (Jørgen, Maren, Oliver, Jomar and Amalie) got T-shirts and finger puppets made by Barbara, that we still have preserved – so good memories.
    Barabara proudly told of his family and travels to these, they had so many great trips.
    We got greetings in letters on birthdays and Christmas from her, the last time in 2017. Barbara and Vernon wished us welcome to visit them in the USA, but unfortunately we did not make it.
    We are so happy to get to know Barbara and her Family, thank you for meeting Barbara, Vernon, Greg and Scott at Byneset.

    Hearfelt condolences to the Benson Family.

    LOVE from familiy at Byneset, Norway –
    Mildrid and John Vorseth
    Tone Vorseth Graneggen and Torbjørn Graneggen
    Jorunn Vorseth and Ståle Gipling

  2. Vicki Blubaugh on October 30, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    Hello Family of Vern and Barb,
    It is with great sadness today that I found out your mom passed away in April. (Her name is listed for All Saints Sunday at Christ Lutheran Church) I adored your parents. They were such kind and loving souls. I first encountered your parents when we were offering donations to purchase the bells for our bell choir. We asked to have our name put on the same bell your parents did because our name also ended with B. We differed to your parents request in honoring the musical talents in your family. Fortunately, I play bells at Christ Lutheran and will hold the B bells with much more honor and reverence in honor of your parents. I enjoyed your dad’s whimsy and gentle spirit. Your mom’s joy was contagious and I admired her genealogy passion. A while back, your mom and I watched Sudanese children while their mom’s were learning English. We enjoyed each other’s teaching stories.
    I have been blessed with knowing your parents and how much they loved each of you. We miss them. I am glad they had some quality time with you before they passed to their eternal home with God.
    You are who you are because of them. Treasure your memories and hold each other in your grief as it comes and goes.
    Peace and hugs from Michigan,
    Vicki and Steve Blubaugh

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