Benjamin Oscar Askelson passed away Monday night, 18 October 2021. He was born on 28 January 1926 in Scobey, MT, the sixth of nine children by Olga Josephine (Olsen) Askelson and Oscar Bert Askelson. He spent his early years growing up in Whitetail, MT and moved to Tacoma, WA in 1942 when he was 16 to finish high school and live with his older brothers that were immediately called away to WWII. His character development started early, as he worked the docks from midnight to 7am and attended high school during the day. He always said the teachers would ask him why he kept falling asleep in class and he would tell them he was tired. They wanted to talk to his parent or guardian, but he told them he lived alone. After that he said the teachers were always nice to him and gave him good grades.
He started work for the Great Northern Railroad in Nashua, MT and worked for a few months before he enlisted in the United States Army in May of 1944 and served with the 3rd Army in WWII in the liberation of Pilsen, Czechoslovakia. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge and was ultimately mustered out of the Army in December 1946 as a Tech 4 (sergeant). He subsequently served 3 more years in the Montana National Guard.
From 1946-1949 he attended the University of Washington in Seattle studying electrical engineering, but ran out of money and had to quit two (2) quarters short of getting his degree. He went back to work for the railroad in Brockton, MT. He met Irene Lillian Solberg there and took Irene and her sister out for milkshakes. They married on 4 October 1952 and recently celebrated their 69th anniversary. They lived in Brockton for five years, where Ben was the agent working for the Great Northern Railroad. They moved to Cut Bank, MT where they have lived in the family home for 64 years and raised their five children. He worked as a telegrapher and depot agent for Great Northern and then Burlington Northern Railroads.
He had a profound and lasting influence on his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and community. He was a very humble man and was embarrassed when anyone praised him. Ben enjoyed wood working and his family has many treasures of his exceptional talents. Ben could fix anything and was often called upon by his children to help with projects. Ben would do anything for anyone and was once described by his old friend, Dewey Milbrandt, as being “too damn nice for his own good”. Ben loved music and often had it loudly playing as he napped, and his greatest joy was dancing with Irene. He loved spending time with family camping and last waterskied when he was 65. He always had a kind word for everyone and a listening ear, even when his hearing aids were not very effective. Ben loved playing cards and taught his family to play cribbage and pinochle. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren always looked forward to those games when they came to visit him. Many people even stopped into the Wash-a-Way just to play a quick game of cribbage. He supported his community as a member of the Sons of Norway, VFW, American Legion, and a lifetime member of the Moose and St. Paul Lutheran Church. Ben had a deep but quiet faith. He was well loved and he loved well.
He is survived by his wife Irene; two sons, Michael (Cindy) and Ronald (Rosanne); two daughters, Debra (Dick Gannon), and Cindy (Robert Roske); daughter-in-law, Lisa; nineteen grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; three sisters, Opal (Dick) Shields, Olive (Dib) Adeline, and Vivian (Glen) Christiansen; five brothers, George (Marion), Ray (Delight) , Edward (Eileen), Joseph (Sharon), and Robert (Jill); his son, Roger (Lisa); son-in-law, William Newman (Debra); grandsons, Ray and Lance Newman; and great-grandson, Carter Roske-Zahm.
The family would like to specifically thank the Logan Health staff for their care and compassion and the community for their support at this time.
A private family internment with Military Honors will be held at the graveside at Cut Bank’s Crown Hill Cemetery on Saturday, 30 October 2021 at 2:00 pm. Please join the family in celebrating Ben’s life at a luncheon at the Moose Lodge, 9 W Main Cut Bank, MT at 3:00 pm. Please leave a message of condolence for the family at www.asperfh.com.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Benjamin Oscar Askelson, please visit our floral store.