ERWIN M. BEENKEN was born at Titonka, Iowa, December 13, 1927, the son of Dirk and Etta Harringa Beenken. He was raised there where he graduated from high school with the class of 1945. His post high school degrees included: Elementary Teacher Training from Waldorf College in 1950; Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education from Luther College in 1955; and Master’s Degree in Secondary Education/Traffic Safety from Michigan State University in 1969.
During the Korean War, from February of 1951 until his honorable discharge in January of 1953, Erwin served his country in the United States Army being stationed in Germany.
On February 21, 1953, Erwin was united in marriage with VIOLET MAE (JANSEN) BEENKEN ‘48 at Titonka, Iowa. Their union was blessed four children: Deb, Mike, Mark and Denise.
Erwin’s 36-year teaching and administrative career included: Rockford Elementary School Principal from 1951-1954; Thompson Public School Principal and Teacher from 1955-1958; Laurens Public School Science and Driver Education Teacher from 1959-1965; and Fort Dodge Senior High School Coordinator of Driver Education from 1966 until retiring in 1987.
In 1988, following his retirement, Erwin and Violet moved to Amarillo, Texas, before settling in Sulphur Springs, Texas. In his spare time he enjoyed working all types of puzzles and riddles and playing checkers. He and Violet greatly enjoyed their membership in the Wesley Methodist Church in Sulphur Springs, Texas.
Violet died March 24, 2010, and in November of 2010 Erwin moved to Denison, Iowa, to be near his daughter, Deb.
Erwin died Thursday afternoon, March 10, 2011, at the Reed House in Denison, Iowa. At the time of his death he had been blessed with 83 years, 2 months and 13 days.
Including his parents, Dirk and Etta Beenken, and his beloved wife, Violet, Erwin was also preceded in death by his twin sister, Evelyn, brother-in-law, Owen, and twin sisters-in-law, Joice and Janice.
Those remaining to cherish his memory include four children and their spouses and families: Deb and Randy Grossman and son Scott of Denison; Mike and Leree Beenken and their three children and four step-children; Mark and Rhonda Beenken and their three children, one step-child and their eight children; and Denise and Greg Cutler and their five daughters; former special daughter-in-law, Diana, one brother: Richard Beenken and family of Titonka, Iowa; other relatives and friends.
Services were Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at Wesley Methodist Church, Sulphur Springs, Texas. Visitation was Saturday, March 12, 2011 at Pfannebecker Funeral Home, Denison, Iowa. Memorials: Wesley Methodist Church, Sulphur Springs, Texas
Cemetery: Ridgeway Cemetery, Sulphur Springs, Texas.