Bennie J. Sys, 77, of rural Karlstad, MN, died on Friday, March 3, 2017 in Sanford Health, Fargo, ND.
Bennie Joseph Sys was born in Minot, ND on February 20, 1940, to Joseph and Myrtle (Wilson) Sys. He was brought up on the family farm in rural Minot, where he helped raise grain, milk cows, and was active in the FFA. After graduating from Minot High School in 1958, Bennie served in the US Army from 1958 through 1964. He was stationed in Baumholder, Germany as a mechanic during the Cold War, where he had the chance to meet Elvis Presley, who was also serving in the Army at that time. During this period, he married his high school sweetheart Charlotte Pederson at the Baumholder Courthouse on February 22, 1961. They spent their honeymoon traveling around Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria.
After he was discharged from active duty, they returned to Minot where they farmed for several years before Bennie began his career as a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service. In the fall of 1969, they moved to a farmstead outside of Karlstad, MN, where they farmed the land and Bennie soon began working again for the Post Office as a rural carrier in Roseau, Middle River, and Gatzke.
Living in the country, Bennie enjoyed raising animals and fish, tinkering in the shop, and working in the garden. One of his greatest loves was watching the various animals and birds visit the feeders outside their kitchen window. He was an active member of the Bethlehem Free Lutheran Church, serving in various positions over the years including President. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, and following NASCAR. Bennie and Charlotte loved hosting family gatherings and watching their grandchildren’s various activities.
He is survived by his wife Charlotte, and 5 children: Terry (Norene) Sys of Hines, MN; Robert Sys of Badger, MN; Stacy (Brian) Novak of Baudette, MN; Cory (Penny) Sys of Karlstad; and Karianne (Seth) Hardmeyer of Frazee, MN.
16 grandchildren: Jessica (Manuel) Franco; Wayne (Jessica Bauer) Sys; Heather (Scot) Hotvedt; Lisa Biggers; Grace Neisen; Ben Preston; Rebecca Sys; Chris (Taylor) Novak; Austin (Janie Sipe) Novak; Daniel Novak; Leighton Sys; Kadey Sys; Faith Conway; Hannah Conway; Colton Conway; Lillian Adams; and several great-grandchildren.
Also surviving are his sisters and brothers: Barbara (Ken) Canary; Ronald (Claire) Sys; Richard (Lynn) Sys; Sharon Shurer and Toni Pickerel. In-laws: Joel (Christine) Pederson, Carol (Eric Dewey) Pederson, George (Betty) Pederson & Kenneth (Anne) Pederson.
He is preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Myrtle Sys and infant brother Gary Sys, and nephew Kevin Sys; brother-in-law, Alan Pederson.
Funeral Services were held on Friday, March 10, 2017 in the Karlstad Baptist Church of Karlstad, MN with Pastor Barry Durkee & Pastor David Ingraham, officiating. Vocal music was provided by Dennis Klopp, Stacy Novak & Karianne Hardmeyer. Pianists were Corienne Jacobson & Barbara Staie. The pallbearers were Bennie’s grandsons: Wayne & Leighton Sys, Christopher, Austin & Daniel Novak & Colton Conway. Military Honors were performed by the Elwood Monroe Swenson Post 445, American Legion of Karlstad.
Burial was in Bethlehem Lutheran Cemetery in Lind Township, Roseau County, rural Greenbush, MN. Arrangements were with Gieseke Funeral Chapel of Greenbush.