Every year about this time, the media puts out lists of celebrities who passed away during the year. Locally, my church holds a Service of Remembrance on the last Sunday of the year to remember those connected to our congregation who have died this year. We all seem interested in taking this opportunity to remember those we have lost before we turn the calendar page to another year.
My family said good-bye to just one soul in 2013, my great-uncle Otto Sigurd Bentsen. He lived a long life, and died in January at the age of ninety-four.
Otto saw many changes during his lifetime. He was born on his father’s homestead southeast of Redstone, Montana. He went from helping his dad farm with horses to watching his daughter and son-in-law run a highly technical farming operation on that same land. During his lifetime, his farm received an award from the State of Montana for keeping the farm in one family for 100 years. Otto was very proud that the farm had only two owners during that time, his father and himself. They kept the farm going through two world wars and the Depression.
Otto worked hard to live the life his parents hoped for their children when they emigrated from Norway in the early 20th century. He went to high school, served in World War II, married, and raised a family on his own land. He was a respected member of his church and community.
Otto was the last member of his generation in our family. With his passing, a new generation takes its place as the family elders. Otto set a good example for all of us to follow.