Dr. Roy Edwin Bengtson, 87, a long-time resident of Bemidji, died peacefully in his sleep Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007, at Covenant Village in the Twin Cities.
Dr. Bengtson was born Aug. 13, 1920, in Kandiyohi, Minn., the eighth of 10 children born to Hannah and Oscar Bengtson. He was raised in Dassel, where his father owned the local meat market.
Roy attended North Park College in Chicago and continued his education at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry. World War II interrupted his dental training as he was called to serve in the infantry in Germany, and later in the post-war military government.
In 1946, Roy married Luverne Ekblad of Minneapolis, who later became Bemidji’s first dental hygienist. In 1947, they moved to Bemidji to set up a dental practice and raise a family. However, this endeavor was also interrupted by war, this time in Korea.
Roy and his young family moved to Texas, where he served as a dentist in the Air Force. After his time in the service, the family returned to Bemidji, where Roy practiced dentistry for 38 years.
Luverne died in 1992, and Roy subsequently married Darby Wallace of Honolulu, Hawaii, his high school sweetheart. In 2001, Roy and Darby moved to the Covenant Village in Golden Valley, where Roy lived until his death.
Dr. Bengtson was well known in the Bemidji community, not only for his dental practice, but also for his 10 years of service on the school board and his strong support of the Bemidji Covenant Church. Friends and patients knew him for his engaging stories, corny jokes, and gentle manner.
He served as chairman of the district school board, as well as president of the Northwest Dental Society. He also volunteered his dental skills in Ecuador, Jerusalem, Peru, and Hudson Bay.
His hobbies included travel, hunting, fishing, flying, canoeing, camping, farming, lumberjacking, and horseback riding. Roy was especially enthusiastic about his wilderness cabin on Little Johnson Lake on the Canadian border.
He is survived by his wife of 14 years, Darby; sons Paul (Julie) of Bemidji, Ted (Rhonda) of Antigo, Wis., and Keith (Cathy) of Rochester, Minn.; daughter Jean (Geoff) Rothery of Whitstable, England; brother Gordon (Gladys), and sister Ruth Swanson, both of Golden Valley; and eight grandchildren.
In addition to his first wife, Luverne, Roy was preceded in death by his parents; a daughter, Betty Lou; a sister; and six brothers.
Funeral service was Friday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Bemidji with the Revs. Mark Hovestal and James Fertheim officiating, preceded by visitation one hour prior to the service. Interment was at the Greenwood Cemetery in Bemidji, with military honors by VFW Post 1260 of Bemidji.
A small memorial service also took place at the Fellowship Center of Covenant Village in Golden Valley Thursday, Nov. 15 at 10:30 a.m.
Casketbearers were Roy’s grandchildren: Timothy Kitchen, Andrew Kitchen, Hannah Kitchen, Anders Bengtson, Hans Bengtson, Phillip Bengtson, Esme Bengtson, and Charles Bengtson.
Arrangements were by the Cease Family Funeral Homes in Bemidji.