In Memory of Arland J. Bebensee
Arland Bebensee of Amery, WI passed away peacefully in his home on Monday, July 3, 2023 after an extended illness at the age of 86.
Arland was born on the farm to Albert and Selma (Rutzen) Bebensee in Drammen Township in rural Lincoln County, Minnesota on September 26, 1936. He spent his youth on the family farm, enjoying the country life with his three sisters Lavonne, Joyce, and Janice. He was baptized and confirmed at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Elkton, SD. He attended country school until the 8th grade. In 1954, he graduated from Lake Benton High School.
Following high school, he served in the US Navy as a Seabee/ Auto Mechanic in Kwajalein- Marshall Islands and Adak- Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. Upon returning to the states, he enrolled in Diesel Mechanic training in Nashville, TN before returning to Minnesota to work for Caterpillar Equipment in Minneapolis.
In August 1963, he married Shirley Otto at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Lake Benton, MN. Daughters, Pamela and Paula, were welcomed in the years that followed. The family lived on a number of farms in the Lincoln County area and often could be found horseback riding or playing cards with Grandpa and Grandma Bebensee. In 1976, the family moved to Hutchinson, MN where Arland worked for Great Plains Lumber before becoming a self-employed general contractor performing residential and farm construction. After his divorce in 1993, Arland lived in rural Hutchinson.
On June 10, 1995, he married Lorraine Schommer of Montevideo, MN. Lorraine was a widow with four adult children: Ann, Tim, Deb, and Shelley. After they married, Arland lived in Montevideo with Lorraine. He was active at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and was instrumental in several major church renovation projects. He was also active in Habitat for Humanity and enjoyed working with local high school students teaching them about residential construction. When Lorraine fell ill with cancer, Arland was her dedicated caretaker until she succumbed to her disease in September 2016.
In August 2018, Arland moved to Amery, Wisconsin to be closer to his daughters and to be able to attend his grandchildren’s sporting events. In January 2019, he moved to Evergreen Village in Amery where he could be found playing a good game of Polish Poker or Hand and Foot. Together with his special friend, Kathy Sirjord, Arland enjoyed many musical events and religious activities until he fell ill. The last several months he was under hospice care of Lakeview Hospice and with the help of hospice staff, Pam and Paula were able to keep Arland comfortable at home until his passing.
Above all, Arland was a man of great faith. He studied the Bible and loved to hear God’s word put to music. He was humble, honest and took great pride in his family, no matter how extended it became.
He is survived by his sisters, Joyce Young (Elk River, MN) and Janice Hetland (Golden Valley, MN), daughters, Pamela Payne (Tom) of Dayton, MN and Paula Graff (Curtis) of Amery, WI, grandchildren Ishaka, Justin, Jeffrey and Jayson Ekiyor, Juliana and Wyatt Graff and bonus, grandchildren Kirby (Emily) and Andy (Stacy) Graff and Mikayla, Sofia and Samantha Payne. In addition, step-children Ann Hair (Daniel) of TN, Tim Schommer of NM, and Debra Olson of Montevideo, MN and many bonus grandchildren and great grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by parents Albert and Selma, wife Lorraine, sister Lavonne Nelson, her husband Al, brothers-in-law James Young and Clair Hetland, step-daughter Shelley Hawkins, and two great-grand daughters.
A memorial service will be held at Apple River Community Church on Monday, July 17, 2023 at 11 am, with a visitation one hour prior from 10 am to 11 am, and military honors afterwards. A luncheon will follow. Interment will occur at Saint John’s Lutheran Cemetery in Verdi, MN at a date yet to be determined. Blessed be his memory.