Bennie A. Eye
Bennie A. Eye, 100, of Clarion passed away peacefully in Cedar Rapids on August 18, 2017.
Funeral services for Ben Eye will be held on Saturday, August 26, 2017 at 2:00PM at Holmes Lutheran Church, 2139 Hancock Avenue in rural Clarion, with Pastor Rich Taylor officiating. Burial will take place at Norway Township Cemetery south of Kanawha.
Visitation for Ben Eye will be held one hour prior to services at the church on Saturday.
Bennie was born September 21, 1916 to Bernt ( Øye ) Eye and Jacobina Slettedahl Eye. He was born and grew up on his dad’s farm near Clarkfield, Minnesota with his three brothers and three sisters. He attended school in a one room schoolhouse, helped milk cows and take care of crops, chickens and hogs. They say ‘when an old man dies, a library burns down’ and nothing could be more true. Ben saw changes in travel and farming from horses to tractors, the beginning of rural electricity and telephone service, indoor running water and toilets. He once sneakily tried to drive his dad’s Model A Ford while his dad was away, but unfortunately the crank broke his arm when the car backfired and he was found out! Ben was a man of true grit, surviving a bull attack and World War II.
Ben served valiantly in WWII with the 7th Infantry, Third Division from 1943 to 1944. After he was drafted, he went to Casablanca and was shipped to Anzio. He was Staff Sergeant of Company A, earned the nickname Big Swede, and led them from the Anzio beachhead to Rome. After a brief stay, the Division was sent to France. He, along with his Company, followed the German army’s retreat across France. He was critically injured in Nayemont, France in the Vosges Mountains by sniper fire. His platoon went on to Austria, and Ben recovered in the hospital. He earned a silver star and a Purple Heart for his courage and valor.
After the war, he attended business college in Minneapolis and worked at Fort Snelling. He and his younger brother would go to dances and it was there he met Eleanor. They were married in 1952 and lived in Minneapolis.
Several years later, he bought Eleanor’s home place and began to farm near Clarion. Ben never enjoyed farming, yet his business college education served him well. He was an active member and supporter of Holmes Lutheran Church for many years.
In 1963, his daughter, Lori was born. As a family, they would frequently travel to Colorado and the mountains. The Rocky Mountains were a place Ben loved dearly. In 1985, he retired from farming and was able to do more of his favorite activities. Ben loved to laugh and tell stories of his younger days in rural Minnesota about the Sioux uprising and the hobos and gypsies who would stop by the farm. He delighted in joking with his granddaughters, tinkering with clocks, making bookshelves and tables, solving puzzles and reading Western novels. Ben kept up with world and national news and always knew the latest. As a Norwegian, he enjoyed the many cookies and pastries from the ‘old country’. Ben’s comment would be, “It’s best when it’s fresh!” And this was his excuse for having seconds. Of course, coffee was his preferred beverage with every meal. He teamed up with Eleanor when it was Lefse making time and could roll out Lefse rounds faster than she could bake them.
Ben loved his family greatly, and was a wonderful husband, father and grandpa. He lived a good long life and we were fortunate to have him with us for so long.
Ben is survived by his wife Eleanor, daughter Lori (John) of Cedar Rapids Iowa, two granddaughters: Kaitlyn and Emily and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers and sisters.