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In Appreciation: Marvin Van Benschoten

STANFORDVILLE — Today was a sad day. I lost a friend of 50 years, and fellow-church member. Marvin Van Benschoten (who died May 5, 2020, at Geer) was a wonderful person who loved farming, family, friends and community. 

He was born in 1926 and lived through many crises: the Depression, World War II, Korea, Cuban missile crisis, presidential assassinations, Vietnam, 911, Desert Storm, the Iraq War and society’s many medical and economic ups and downs.

I taught all Marvin’s children in my chemistry and physics classroom. Their values were instilled by Marvin and his wife, Ann.  All were attentive, kind, and caring of their fellow students, always pitching in where needed.

Marvin learned the value of hard work from his father, who also was a believer in an honest days’ work. Marvin told stories of bringing 10-gallon metal containers of milk to market by sled during blizzards. His morning tasks were to do the 3 a.m. milking and then go to school and take his studies seriously.  His major struggle was not academic, but to stay awake! 

He spoke of the value of dependable horses, caring for the them, as these beasts were the “tractors” that planted the seed and brought in the crops. Farming was one aspect of heavy labor. 

Marvin’s dad had other ideas for extending a day’s work. He decided to build a farmhouse for two families, combining the living quarters to accommodate the children and allow Arthur and his wife to share the burden with Marvin and his fast-growing family. 

Marvin and the farm hands began work on a two-family house that was approximately 5,000 square feet, building it after a day of farming.  

By the time the house was closed in and the roof was on, it had begun to snow. As his dad did not tolerate whining, all soldiered on in all weather. With the roof on, and Christmas ahead, Marvin couldn’t wait till spring —when it was time to plant.

Marvin was an avid reader who valued historical novels and visited historic sites. For him, history helped to inform future decisions. 

I miss his wisdom, truthfulness, ingenuity, and his zest for life. There are few memorable men I have met in my life, and Marvin was one of them, may he rest in peace.  

— Robert Riemer


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