Arvid R. Bengston

February 28, 1926 — September 8, 2020

Arvid R. Bengston

Arvid Richard Bengston was born on Sunday, Feb. 28, 1926 in a small hospital in Little River Kansas. He was the 3rd of 7 children born to William and Hildur Bengston. Once he started school, he “acquired” the name of Shorty because he was short and for the rest of his life those who knew him well called him Shorty.

Some of his childhood memories include fishing and hunting with his best friend, Vernie Carlson. They could get $.50 for each skunk and $2.00 for every badger they skinned and sold. In 1933 the Bengston family traveled by train to the World’s Fair in Chicago. They stayed at Arvid’s aunt’s house and got to buy ice cream from the ice cream truck that came down the street. He remembered that once they got to the fair it cost $.10 to open the bathroom door so his Father had him crawl underneath the stall door and open it from the inside so they could use it free of charge. And he remembered sticking his head out the train window and feeling the cool breeze blowing on his face. At age 8 or 9 around Christmas time he went to Hutch with his Father to take a load of pigs to the packing plant. They stopped at the store and bought bologna and cheese which was a huge treat for the family. As an early Christmas present his Father bought him an air rifle. In grade school the Eichenour kids used to try to trade lunches with Arvid because they had store bought bread but his was home-made. Very rarely would he trade with them. At the end of 8th grade he got to walk in the parade down Main Street in McPherson and was excited when his Father told him he didn’t have to be home to do chores that night. He spent the entire day and into the evening in town but felt guilty the whole time that he wasn’t home working. (This trait would follow him through his entire life). His motto was always “the work is done before you play.” That 8th grade year of school was his last year to go to school because the war started and more milk cows were added to their herd so his help was needed on the farm. He also worked for one of the neighbors picking corn for $.20 a bushel. A wagon would hold 30 bushels and he could have a full one picked before lunch and another one before dark. $12.00 for one day of work was a lot of money.

In 1951, at the age of 25, fearing and afraid that he might be drafted to the Navy and not knowing how to swim, Arvid enlisted in the United States Air Force. His first stop was Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX then on to Wichita Falls, TX, Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, LA, Mac Dill Air Force Base in Tampa Florida and then to Oxford England. In 1954 he was honorably discharged as a B29 Mechanic with the 301st Squadron in the United States Air Force. He recalled so many memories of his time in the service and the friends he made along the way. The Azore Islands, fueling their plane in Bermuda, getting a 3 day pass and visiting London England where he watched Queen Elizabeth hold up a then 3 year old Prince Charles for all the town to see. He saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace and spent New Year’s Eve at Picadilly Circus. After all these years he still got tears in his eyes when he talked about serving his country and how proud he was to be a United States Veteran.

In the Summer of 1954, he joined a custom cutting crew where they traveled from Ponca City, Oklahoma to Scoby, Montana. And luckily the Lawrence Harder farm was also on their route. It was there that he met a young lady who brought sandwiches to the field, her name was Marcia. She would later become the love of his life. Their first date was to the skating rink and he proposed to her in the hay field North of her house on a full moon lit night. They married on a hot summer day on July 22nd 1956 in a double ring ceremony with his younger brother Virgul and his fiance’ Betty. They bought a small house in McPherson and lived in town until 1962 when they bought the farmstead he still owns south of McPherson. They were the parents of 3 girls- Arlene, Diane and Nadine.

Arvid worked off the farm as well as at Modern Products (a door factory in McPherson) in the 1960’s and early 1970’s and was employee #79 to be hired when Sterling Drug (now known as Pfizer) built their factory in McPherson. He retired from there in 1986 but continued to farm and raise cattle. He and Marcia were busy all the time and they did everything together.

In December of 2009 Marcia was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and she passed away on Aug. 11th 2010. All of our lives changed forever on that day but especially Arvid’s. His life-long companion of 54 years was no longer at his side to help him with everything and to go everywhere with him. It was devastating for him and he never fully recovered. He continued to work hard on the farm; cutting down cedar trees in the pastures, painting buildings and raising a few calves that he eventually sold. He took pride in watching his daughters and their families grow and succeed.

In June of 2017 after suffering a stroke Arvid moved into the Cedars. It was hard for him to live there and he was always determined to return to the farm. Unfortunately, his health never allowed him to do that. Arvid passed away on September 8th at the age of 94.

Survivors include daughters: Arlene Sawatzky (Russ Dick), Diane Hedberg (Matt) and Nadine Kelling (Brian). Grandchildren: Jordan Sawatzky (Shane Maupin), Spencer Goalden (Jake), Justin Kelling (Cassie Maizon) and Jessica Kelling. Step Grandchildren: Will Hedberg and Makaela Hedberg and great grandchildren: Jameson Kelling, Luna Kelling and Delaynie Goalden. Brothers: Virgul Bengston (Carole) and Willard Bengston (Joyce). Brother-in-law: Roy Harder and sister-in-law: Delia Harder. He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, brothers and sisters-in-law Evert and Bernice Bengston, Chet and Treva Bengston, a sister and brother-in-law Gloria and Marvin Plooster and sister Carolyn Hannah.

The family will receive friends from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, Monday, September 14, 2020, at Stockham Family Funeral Home. A private graveside service will be held on Tuesday, September 15, at the Andover Cemetery, Windom, KS. Military honors will be conducted by American Legion Post #24 and V.F.W. Post #2715.

Memorial donations may be given to Andover Cemetery in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460. To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of Arvid R. Bengston please visit our Sympathy Store.

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