Rodney Lee Benner, 64, of Colstrip took a piece of our heart home with him to heaven on January 22, 2018.
He was born October 19, 1953 in Kalispell to Albert & Pearl Benner. Rod grew up in St. Regis where he attended elementary and high school graduating in 1972. As a young boy Rod responded to God’s call at a summer Vacation Bible School to give his life to serve the Lord. He was a graduate of Briercrest Bible College in 1976 and began pastoring his first church while attending school. Rod met the love of his life Sherry Larum of Lolo and they were married December 27th, 1975. Together they had 3 children, Jason, Dusty, & Stephanie. Through 43 years of ministry Rod served faithfully as a pastor in Cody, Wyoming, Ronan & Polson Montana, Palmer & Homer Alaska, Hodgeville & Yorkton, Sask. Canada, Lewiston Idaho, and the last 10 years at Life’s Journey Christian Fellowship in Colstrip, Montana. Peru also had a special place in Rods heart as he traveled there 13 times to do evangelist and healing crusades and train pastors.
His passionate pursuit of the outdoors included fishing, hunting, hiking, boating, snowmobiling, camping…and any other excuse to get outside! His dream to hunt in Alaska included a 53 pound King Salmon, Dahl Sheep, Grizzly Bear, Moose and Caribou. Rod loved hunting for deer & antelope but his greatest delight was hunting for elk, (he bagged 35!) but in the end it wasn’t the trophies, or the hunt…. it was being with his buddies, kids, and grandkids that gave him his greatest joy.
Rod is survived by his devoted wife Sherry, sons Jason (Cherie) & Dusty (Chandra), daughter Stephanie (Kevin) Schafer, and 13 grandchildren that he adored and that adored him! He is also survived by 2 sisters, Sharon (Jack) Adamson, & Mary Benner Aarneson (Allen deceased), 4 brothers, Dick, Jim (Elaine), Gary (Kim), Bruce (Suzanne) Brown, numerous nephews and nieces and many wonderful friends. He was preceded in death by his sister Alberta (Ron) Nebel in April and his dear mother Pearl Jackson on December 27th (Rod & Sherry’s 42nd anniversary).
Rod lived a noble life and worthy example of who Jesus is. As a friend of Rod’s wrote, “Thank you for saying yes to Jesus and never looking back. Thank you that you refused to let bitter people make you small; that pain didn’t break you; that darkness couldn’t dim your light and fear didn’t hide your love. Thank you for loving without reservation; for your commitment to reaching the world for Jesus one person at a time; to see as Jesus saw, to hear as Jesus heard, and to do as Jesus did. Thank you for not condoning, not condemning but being filled with compassion. Yours is a life to be imitated; lived with passion and integrity in pursuit of the heart of God. Only heaven knows the full impact of your life and its mark in eternity. One thing is sure, the best is yet to come!”
Be sad with us, but rejoice with us too. As Rod would have wanted you to, get to the Jesus he called “friend and Lord”. Rod led a life worthy of the Master’s praise, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”