Dorothy was born in September 1927 on the family farm in rural Lyon County located near Marshall, Minnesota. Her parents were farmers who grew crops and raised livestock. She was the second oldest of four children. As with farm families, she grew up doing chores and learning the value of a good work ethic. She attended a small school in Lynn, a neighboring town, and graduated Valedictorian of her class of five students. Fun fact: at their 50th class reunion, all five students attended.
After graduation, Dorothy moved to Minneapolis to attend a business college, learning bookkeeping and payroll. Her cousin, Betty, began dating LeRoy Bengtson. Through Betty, Dorothy met LeRoy’s brother, Floyd. She felt a connection and they began dating. After finishing business school, Dorothy worked for a contractor in Minneapolis as a bookkeeper.
Dorothy and Floyd got married on December 4, 1949. Shortly afterwards, they moved to Osakis where they started their life together. Dorothy went to work as a teller at First National Bank and Floyd managed the gas station for about 12 years before they purchased a 40-acre farm. They raised crops, hogs, chickens, and ducks. Farming and gardening were Floyd’s passion, while Dorothy’s passion was keeping an immaculate house. They raised two boys, Bradley, and Dwight. In the off-season, Floyd did carpentry and drove school bus. They were both very involved in First Presbyterian Church, where Floyd was an Elder and Deacon, the VFW, and Ladies Auxiliary. Life was busy and very full.
Big family holidays were a favorite tradition in the Bengtson home. They always served duck and traditional Swedish dishes for the Christmas Eve meal and Floyd said grace in Swedish. Popcorn balls and divinity were the favorite sweet treats. Christmas Day was celebrated on Dorothy’s side of the family. They would load up in the ’49 Chevy, with a box of sand in the trunk for weight, and chains on the tires, to make the trek back to Marshall. Many fond memories were made during those family get togethers. When you’re a farmer, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to get away for vacations. Although there was one very memorable family trip to the Black Hills in a brand new ’56 Chevy.
After the kids left home, Dorothy and Floyd shared a love for making wood crafts. Floyd would do the woodworking and carving and Dorothy would paint and decorate them. They made countless wonderful seasonal crafts that they would give away to family. They eventually made enough to start selling them on a consignment basis at stores in Paynesville, Sauk Center, and other locations. It created a nice supplement to their retirement income. Dorothy and Floyd have four grandchildren, five great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. They have made each of the girls a log dollhouse complete with curtains, furniture, and décor. They made their grandson a hip-roofed barn, complete with all the farm animals. These treasures were lovingly carved and created for each of them as well as sold on consignment to countless Central Minnesota families.
Dorothy and Floyd sold the farm in Osakis and bought a home outside of St. Joseph, Minnesota in 2001. Sadly, Floyd passed away on April 20, 2007. Dorothy continued to live on her own with the help of her son, Bradley. Sadly, Bradley passed away in October 2018. They were in the process of getting rid of Bradley’s vehicles when an arsonist set his truck on fire, which happened to be parked beside the garage. The garage also caught on fire, and unfortunately, Dorothy’s house sustained extensive smoke damage. She temporarily stayed with her son and daughter in law, Dwight and Clarice, before moving into Shepherd of Grace in January 2019.
Dorothy has enjoyed her new home and says she is in good hands and doesn’t have to worry about anything anymore. Her quick wit, ready comebacks, and bright smile are loved by all the staff.