Ben Dale Simonson
June 6, 2019
Ben Dale Simonson, 74, of Noxon, died April 4, 2018, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, of lung cancer (though he never smoked) while recuperating from surgery at the veterans hospital there. He had several surgeries prior to that, in multiple organs, for cancer as a result of his contact with Agent Orange while serving in the Navy in Viet Nam.
Simonson enlisted in the Navy after graduating from high school in Edgerton, Wisconsin, with three other buddies. While serving on the USS Constitution, he was severely burned when an aircraft attempted to land on deck and caught on fire. He was flown to an Army hospital in Guam for four months of skin grafts. His high school buddies died when they were thrown off the ship into the ocean, where they drowned.
He served several tours of duty before returning to the United States in San Francisco where he received an Honorable Discharge. His next move was to join the Coos Bay, Oregon, sheriff’s department as a deputy sheriff. After a few years, he moved to Montana and became a deputy sheriff for Lincoln County in Libby. While chasing a felony subject in his patrol car, he crashed and had to be extricated from the vehicle, breaking his ribs and suffering a heart attack.
Later, he joined the Sanders County Sheriff’s Office and served several years. He unsuccessfully ran for sheriff when it became open.
Because he and his wife had four children enrolled in the Noxon school system, he was elected to the school board and served until the children graduated.
Ben is survived by his wife Judith (Jay Simons) at the family home; son, Ben Daniel Simonson or Davie, Florida; son Scotty Simonson of Noxon; stepdaughters Rina Reynolds of South Dakota and Tova Hinderstein of California; sister Sherry Staffrude of Wisconsin; grandchildren Ben and Katarina Simonson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was predeceased by his brother, Darrell Simonson of Noxon, and his parents, Ben and Luella Simonson, Edgerton, Wisconsin.
Simonson was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and was 100% disabled as a result. His wishes were to be cremated and his ashes thrown into the wind from the top of Pillick Ridge –his favorite hunting spot.