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Benjamin “Ben” Daniel Widseth, 19, of rural Fosston, MN, and a student at NDSU in Fargo, died unexpectedly near his home on Sunday, April 22, 2018. Ben was born on March 31, 1999, in Waconia, MN, the son of Jeffrey and Kristi (Palmer) Widseth. He became part of a loving home that included his big sister, Carissa. While growing up in Waconia, Ben was baptized at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and confirmed at Faith Lutheran Church. He received his education in the Waconia schools, where Ben loved math and physics. While still in high school, Ben also completed several college courses at Ridgewater Community College in Hutchinson, MN. His true passion was playing trumpet, and in high school he became a proud member of the Waconia Marching Band, recognized to be one of the best marching bands in the state. In Ben’s younger grades, he played baseball and football, and in high school he ran cross-country for the Waconia Wildcats. Friendships, especially with the “Corner Crew,” were a very important part of his life. Not only did the Crew do everything together, but those bonds remained strong to the present time. Ben graduated from Waconia High School as a member of the Class of 2017.
Ben enjoyed playing cards and board games throughout his life, but really loved playing video games online with his friends. He loved the mountains and forests, and great family memories were created while hiking in Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, and Banff National Parks. When Ben would forge ahead, leaving his Mom, Dad, and Sis behind, they lovingly referred to him as ‘Mountain Goat’ or, in some cases, ‘Bear Bait’ when he trailed too far behind. Ben became an accomplished downhill skier and made his family immeasurably proud by becoming an adaptive ski instructor with the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, teaching children with disabilities to ski. Ben loved animals, and his life was enriched by two cats, Twinkle Toes and Romeow, and his dog, Lena, who were considered family, not pets.
Last fall Ben enrolled at North Dakota State University, majoring in engineering. He enjoyed college life and was honored to become a member of the NDSU Marching Band. He had just recently begun working at the Crooked Pint in Fargo as a greeter and host and really grew into the position. He was a young man who greatly valued freedom, not just for himself, but for everyone. Ben had the kindest of hearts, coupled with a unique sense of humor, and his calming soul made those around him feel better.
Ben will be lovingly remembered by his dad and mom, Jeff and Kristi Widseth of Fosston, MN; sister and life-long friend, Carissa of Fosston; grandfather, Richard “Dick” Widseth of Crookston, MN; aunts and uncles: Cindy and Steve Saboe of Washington, DC, Tami Decker of Edina, MN, Jennifer Widseth Coppel and Jay Coppel of Savage, MN, Greg and Nan Widseth of Crookston, Les Palmer of Crookston, Julie and Tom Glass of Glendale, Maryland, Marc and Sue Palmer of Crookston, Ben’s Godparents, Kari and Chad Hitchen of Winger, MN, Bonnie Palmer of Crookston, and Laurie and Lee Straw of Bemidji, MN; cousins including: Nikki, Heather, Angie, Katie, Sally, Emily, Joey, Ashley, Leigha, Jessica, Jayme, Brittany, Luke, Jake, Sam, Hunter, Kim, and Katrina; other relatives; and many friends. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Clarice (Thureen) Widseth, and Dwane and Juneth (Sather) Palmer; uncles, Kim and Daniel Palmer; and cousin, Tiffany Glass. Ben’s life was a blessing, and he will be missed beyond measure.
A Memorial Service celebrating Ben’s life will be held at 4:00 pm, Sunday, May 6, 2018, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston, with The Rev. Elise Pokel officiating. Visitation with the family will be at the Stenshoel-Houske Funeral Home on Saturday, May 5, from 4:00-7:00 pm, with a prayer service and sharing of memories at 7:00 pm. Visitation will continue at the church on Sunday from 3:00-4:00 pm. In lieu of flowers memorials may be given in Ben’s memory to the Waconia High School Marching Band or a charity of choice.