Rodney Thomas âMonkâ Bennett was born September 19, 1932 in Dante, South Dakota to Glen E. and Alice (Kostel) Bennett. The family lived in Sioux City, Iowa and Minneapolis before moving to Marshall in 1941. Rodney attended St. Josephâs Catholic School through the eighth grade and went to Marshall Public High School. At the end of his junior year, he enlisted in the Marine Corps and went to boot camp in California. Shortly after enlisting, the Korean Conflict broke out and his First Marine Division sailed from the west coast on November 13, 1950 and went ashore on Pusan. His unit drove up the center of Korea toward the 38th parallel. While waiting for word from the United Nations to cross into North Korea, Rodneyâs feet began to freeze. His unit pushed forward to the Changin Reservoir (Chosin). Here the United Nations troops staved off the enemy in a seventeen day battle in freezing weather. On March 1st, Rodney was evacuated to a field hospital and later ordered aboard the USS Repose, a hospital ship. He was flown to Japan and two weeks later sailed for home on the USS Jefferson. After surgery and recovery on the east coast, he came home on time to graduate with his class of 1951. Over the years, he attended Marine Corps reunions, maintaining close relationships with men from his unit.
Rodney was married to Melva Hauswedell in 1959. To this union, three sons, Brooks, Bradley and Brett, were born. Rodney worked in the family business all his life, except for winters in the early 1950âs when he went to Phoenix, AZ because of his feet. Rodney was a life-long member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and a member of the Upper Midwest âChosen Fewâ. He had an interest in history and was an avid collector of guns, swords and war memorabilia. He enjoyed playing rolle bolle, hunting fishing and reading. He loved his grandchildren and took great pride in their accomplishments.
Rodney is survived by his sons Brooks (and Carlene), Bradley, and Brett (and Donita); grandchildren Hannah, Haley and Andrew, sisters Glendalynne (Louis) Beauzay and Barbara Bell and special friend Doris Young; sister-in-law Pauline Bennett; two nieces and nine nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Howard, a niece Anita Bennett and Melva Hauswedell Bennett.