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Dr. Vern Bennett

July 26, 1933 - September 29, 2019

A private celebration of life will be held.


Boulger Funeral Home

Dr. Vern Bennett

July 26, 1933 - September 29, 2019


Dr. Vern Bennett, 86, Fargo, ND, passed away Sunday, September 29, 2019 in his home surrounded by family and assisted by Hospice of the Red River Valley.

Vern was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin to Mable (Kunz) and Milton Bennett on July 26, 1933. The oldest of three children, he completed his primary and secondary education in Eau Claire and went on to college at the University of Eau Claire majoring in Geography and minoring in Education. There he met and married Betty Ulberg 66 years ago.

Vern was drafted into the Army, served in Fort Knox, Kentucky and in Germany where he was awarded a commendation.

After being discharged, Vern entered education as teacher/principal in Balsam Lake, WI and onto Superintendent in Bruce, WI.

After taking 2 years off to attend graduate school at the University of Minnesota, he moved his family to River Falls, WI where he took the position of Superintendent and finished his dissertation graduating with a PhD in School Administration.

In 1971, he moved his family to Fargo, ND where he was superintendent of schools for a 28 year period.

While superintendent in Fargo, Vern started Woodrow Wilson alternative school and along with Bob Johnson, Warren Gullickson and creative teachers initiated Trollwood Performing Arts School. In addition, he has had the honor of having Bennett Elementary School named after him.

For many years, Vern could be found flipping pancakes for Kiwanis. He loved the Lord and attended the same Bible study group for 40 years, attended Bible Study Fellowship, watched and supported Jimmy Swaggart’s Ministries. He served as county commissioner, member of the board for the Fargo Dome and PRACs committee. He helped to bring Luis Palau and Billy Graham Crusades to Fargo.

Work was a hobby for Vern – he said he enjoyed every day he worked saying he loved serving people.

Vern is survived by his wife Betty, brother Erle (Shirley), sister Irene (Wayne) Hill, son Rick (Monika), daughter Julie (Maury) Scott, 9 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

There will be a private Celebration of Life service.

In lieu of flowers, the family will donate all memorials to the Fargo Public Schools Foundation, Dr. Vern Bennett Fund for Innovative Education.

Dr. Bennett’s final resting place will be in Eau Claire, WI.


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30 responses to “Dr. Vern Bennett”

  1. Kim Koppelman says:

    Vern Bennet was a good friend. He was not only a well known community leader and public official, he was also a man of faith. We spoke often about this and, because he knew Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, we rejoice that he is with Him today and that, if we share that trust, we will see him again.

  2. Melda Young says:

    I knew Dr. Bennett through the Fargo Schools system. He was funny, friendly, and always had a smile on his face. When the DO was at the Emerson Building, I would bring baked goods to the office and like clockwork, he’d walk in and say he heard someone brought baked goods and he followed the smell until he got to them! He will always be remembered by me and countless other people as one of the good ones that will always be remembered.

  3. Steve Wennblom says:

    Grace and Peace to Vern Bennett for all he did for the Fargo School District….

  4. Mike holen says:

    Sorry for your loss

  5. DeAnn Pladson says:

    The world will just not be the same without our beloved Dr. B. Prayers for peace and comfort for your entire family.

  6. Lauren Hildebrand says:

    Vern was a bona fide hero to friends, colleagues, and me. I will miss yhid great man so much. He believed in me.

  7. Kathy Hawken says:

    Vern was a mentor & role model for me & so many others. Harry & I send our sincere sympathy to all of you. He made a difference!

  8. Bette Grande says:

    Rest in Peace dear one. Your love of Christ shined though every day, HE says well done good and faithful servant.

  9. Dave Gordon says:

    A good man

  10. Marvin and Edna (Babe) Mortenson says:

    Betty, Rick and Julie,
    We would like to extend our sympathy to you and your families in the loss of your husband and father, Vern.
    Both Marv and I were hired by Vern and worked with and under him for many years while he was Superintendent of Fargo Public Schools. He was a fair man, listened when we went to see him and his door was always open when we needed him. I so appreciated his support when our health curriculum and I were under attack by outside sources. He was in my corner. Marv was a teacher, counselor and administrator while he was Superintendent. Vern was a progressive leader of Fargo schools and deserved to have a school named after him.
    His loss to your family is also a loss to the community.

  11. Dr. Larry P. Nybladh says:

    My deepest sympathies to the family of this good and great man. His big heart, deep faith, sharp mind, quick wit, and commitment to others and the good of society allowed him a lifetime of service which truly made a difference. I recall with personal gratitude his friendship and mentoring in my own early years as a superintendent. What a life well lived!

  12. Darlajean (McGowan) Harlow says:

    Dr.Bennett gave my daughter experiences and confidence that have served her well in her life. A relationship that started off as a confrontation ended to be some of her most cherished memories. Dr. Bennett truly cared for all he served. He has earned his Rest. All those touched by his life and passing are in my thoughts and prayers during this time of transition.

  13. Nathan Parker says:

    My regrets to the family. I never met Mr. Bennett but can say that he left an impact on those around him. His daughter Julie spoke highly of him not only from a fatherly perspective but as a person who was willing to serve in the areas that he believed in.

    When she spoke about him she always smiled and it was obvious that she was very proud of his accomplishments for the family and the community. People like Mr. Bennett will be missed but it is good to know that he left a positive impression on those who he worked with. God blessed him with the gift to serve and he used it to the best of his ability.

  14. Nancy Jordheim says:

    No greater love did Vern have than for his family. His professional demeanor would fall away in an instant when one of his family and MOST especially his grandchildren would enter the room. He radiated joy and unconditional love. This was a reflection to us all, of the power of people and relationships. I used to tease him that he was a charmer. He would ask me to look into my heart when considering a decision that was difficult. The brain he would say was critical as you started a process, but the heart told a greater tale. His outlook and attitude shaped all of us that worked with and for him. My sorrow is lifted as I remember this Native American proverb: “Death is not the putting out of the light, but rather extinguishing the lamp for the Dawn has come.” Thank you for sharing Vern with us all.

  15. Andrew Hanks says:

    Unfortunately, I was unable to meet Dr. Bennett. Working with Julie for the past 6 months, we have had several conversations about her father’s health and my family has been praying for him. He is now with our Lord and Savior in a better place and some day we will be able to meet in Heaven.

    My condolences and prayers of peace to the family.

  16. Bonnie Johnson says:

    I worked with County Commissioner Vern Bennett for 12 years. He was a dedicated public servant who inspired those around him to find common ground on public policy. He always listened to everyone and always wanted the best for the people of Cass County. His broad experience with Fargo Public Schools laid the ground work for his second career as a county commissioner. He took his responsibility seriously, and I admired him greatly. I was lucky to have the opportunity to work with him. My sincere condolences to Betty and the rest of the Bennett family.

  17. Tim Storm says:

    Julie, I am sorry for the loss of your Dad. Treasure the many memories with your Dad as they will remain with your forever.

  18. Steve & Bobbi Sedlmayr says:

    Vern was very supportive of me when I was a “rookie” superintendent. My wife Bobbi and I always enjoyed meeting up with the Bennett’s at the AASA conferences after we moved to Wisconsin, their home area. Vern was liked and respected by all of his fellow superintendents, and was always there when we asked for his advice! The Fargo-Morehead area has lost a great leader!

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you and you family, Betty, as you celebrate his life.

  19. John R McLaughlin says:

    I’ll always remember Dr. Bennett is being a great compassionate and caring man when he invited me to the harvest prayer breakfast last November in 2018 at the end of his talk he said please remember to points from my talk the first point B kind to everyone the second point B kind to everyone rest in peace Vern

  20. Lisa Dill Hanson says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you Rick, Betty, and Julie! I have such found memories of Dr. Bennett!!! He was always so kind and gracious, never judgmental – even in my lowest days. His sense of humor and kindness were a gift to us all. I remember being at dinner with him and Mrs. Bennett asking him to turn off his hearing aids so we could talk about his birthday gifts, he smiled and complied.
    My family and especially my father respected him so much… I imagine Joe and Vern are talking right now as they catch up in heaven.
    Love and hugs,
    Lisa Dill Hanson

  21. Paul Meyers says:

    I’m but one of the many people who knew and appreciated Dr. Bennett. He was loved by many and his work will remain long in the future. Thank you to the family for sharing him with all of us.

  22. John Keating says:

    I knew Dr Bennett through the Fargo Schools, where our children were students, and was fortunate to have seen his wise and compassionate leadership and counsel on several occasions. I always left a meeting with Vern with a good feeling that I was wiser and better informed after speaking with him. He brought to bear on problems not only his sharp mind but also his good will. We were very fortunate to have him as a community leader these many years here in Fargo.

    Vern did so much to make this a better place to live and raise a family. His contributions were many and did so much for Fargo and its citizens to raise the quality of life. Vern Bennett was also a man of faith who knew
    Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Thanks Vern for your kind and caring ways, for making a difference.

  23. Mark Kolstad says:

    Susan and I taught in Fargo and felt extremely fortunate to work in an organization with a strong and compassionate leader. Dr. Bennett never lost his focus on the welfare of his students and his staff. When you spoke with him, he wanted to know how things were going in your classroom and in your life. He had a wonderful way of making you feel important and comfortable. He was larger than life but so down to earth.
    Susan and Mark Kolstad

  24. Kirby Bicknell says:

    I’m saddened by your loss and will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  25. Shirley A Nerby says:

    Sorry for your family’s loss. I met Vern when I was on the PTA Board at Roosevelt School. He would always stop and take time to say hello whenever he saw me. He will be greatly missed.

  26. Kristie Mahar-Ortiz says:

    Such a wonderful man. Fargo Public Schools was in good hands under your leadership. You will be dearly missed by so many.
    Kristie Mahar-Ortiz
    SPED Teacher, FPS

  27. Vanessa Burton says:

    Your family are in our prayers. I’m always here is you need a shoulder as well.

  28. Peter Johnson says:

    My deepest sympathy for Betty and the family with the loss of Vern. He was an outstanding and wonderful man. I remember visiting with him many times in his office when visiting with my mom who was his secretary for 25 years! I have a fond memory when he came to visit our classroom one day and was a joy always seeing him. He was the type that would always brighten your day! He will be missed but memories will never be forgotten. God Bless.

  29. kirk Gaylord says:

    Mr. Bennett was my teacher when I was in high school at Balsam Lake, Wis. I have always remembered him fondly because of a nice compliment he paid me for the quality of my work on one assignment. I was not a stellar student, but that one compliment made me feel proud.-kirk

  30. Mary K Merrill says:

    Mr Bennett was my geography teacher @ Balsam Lake , later Unity H.S. in Wisconsin. I later met him when he was principal at Bruce h.s..

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