Vernon H. Benson

Vernon H. Benson, 79, Lakeland, FL passed away on June 14, 2020 surrounded by his wife of 60 years, and family.

Vern Benson was born on the White Earth Indian Reservation on September 19, 1940. He attended elementary school in Naytahwaush, MN and high school in Mahnomen, MN. Upon graduation from high school, Vern joined the United States Marine Corps and married his high school sweetheart, Darlene McCollum, on June 4, 1960. He was stationed in Jacksonville, Florida after serving a fourteen-month tour in Japan. In 1963 he was honorably discharged from the Marines and became a father. He and his family relocated to Bemidji, MN where he began gainful employment with Phoenix Loan Company. He grew within his position and was soon recognized by Northern National Bank, located across the street. He worked his way up to Assistant Vice President and made lifelong friends at the bank.

In 1973, he relocated his family of five to Lakeland, Florida to pursue an entrepreneurship opportunity in the mobile truck washing business. After one year of learning the business, he moved his business to Aurora, Colorado where business growth was optimal. Vern worked very hard, long hours in the truck washing business. In his spare time, Vern coached little League football and baseball. He enjoyed golf and socializing at the Elks Club on occasion. He made many more lifelong friendships.

After growing his successful business and raising three children, he made the decision to return to the Sunshine State, specifically Lakeland, Florida, a place he dearly loved. His business experienced further growth. Safe-Way Concepts, Inc., his mobile truck washing business, became a leader in the industry across Central Florida. Vern always hired young men in need of opportunity. He became well known for his mentorship and teaching work ethic to these young men who continued contact with him until the end of his days. In 2000, Vern retired and left his sons to carry out the business he built with his self-taught entrepreneurial qualities.

In 2007, Vern experienced medical difficulties that led to a right leg amputation below the knee. Many medical errors led to a lengthy and grueling recovery as well as future complications. Vern remained strong and competent with Darlene never once leaving his bedside.

Vern had grown from a small child on the Indian Reservation to a successful self-taught businessman. He was strengthened through life by Darlene and together they accomplished life, raised three successful children, and enjoyed sixty years of marriage.

Vern is survived by his wife, Darlene Benson, his daughter, Shawn Benson, son, Shad (Kim) Benson, and Nathan (Shannon) Benson all of Lakeland, Florida. Vern has ten grandchildren: Amanda Burton, Bradley Burton, Chelsea (Eddie) Dye, Cheyenne (Brandon) Ross, Shelby Benson, Kaia Benson, Natalie Benson, Gabrielle Benson, Victoria Benson, and Landon Benson. Vern has eight great grandchildren: Ethan, Logan and Masan Bregler, Shaeleigh Burton, Lilly, Gracie and Cammy Dye, and Oakley Ross. Vern is also survived by his brothers, John (Vicki) Benson and Jim (Vicky) Benson.

Memorial donations may be made to the Brady O’Berg Legacy Fund at: 512 13th Street NE, Dilworth, MN 56529 or online at:

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