Constance (Connie) Edith Benson Robbins
March 2, 2023
Constance (Connie) Edith Benson Robbins, 93, passed away February 11, 2023, at Gritman Medical Center in Moscow, Idaho. Constance was born on September 22, 1929, in Vancouver, Washington, to Gladys (Conklin) and Olof Benson. She joined a sister, Evelyn, on the family vegetable farm in the small community of Burton. She also had an older half-sister, Charlotte Jean Greenblum, who visited the family occasionally. Sadly, life’s trials began early in Connie’s life. When she was only nine months old her mother became ill and was hospitalized, never able to come home again. A few housekeepers took over her care until she was 3 or 4 and then she became her dad’s constant companion, going to work with him on neighboring farms and learning to work hard at a very young age. She had many stories of walking to the orchards, picking prunes all day, and then walking home. Her father never owned a motorized vehicle so their travels were on foot or horse and buggy. She and her sister had fun also, playing softball with Evelyn pitching and Connie catching.
Another tragedy occurred when she was 12 and her father also became ill and was hospitalized. Connie and Evelyn went to live with their Aunt Torborg and Uncle Elmer Benson in Beaverton. They had one daughter, Vaunda, a few years younger than Connie. They also owned a grocery store and it was there that Connie learned many skills, one of which was cutting meat, a skill much used after moving to Montana. Connie excelled in school receiving top grades in all subjects. She also enjoyed writing and photography, even learning how to develop her own photos. Right before high school graduation she got poison oak from a trip to Multnomah Falls so she didn’t get her diploma unfortunately. She left home and got an apartment in Hillsboro with another young girl, Eunice, who worked in the cannery with her. It was through this roommate that Connie met the love of her life, Bob, a cousin of Eunice’s. They met in the summer and were married on January 30, 1948, in the middle of a terrible storm. Even the witnesses could not make it to the ceremony
Their first home in the Birkenfeld, Oregon, area was very rustic and they had to haul water and Connie washed their clothes on a scrub board. By the end of their first year of marriage, Bob and Connie had their first son, Robert Randal. He was joined three years later by a brother, Ricky Gene.
The family then moved with the extended Robbins family down to Point Arena, California, where they had a sawmill and logging business. Soon after moving, their last child, Lauretta, was born.
In 1963 the family moved to Trout Creek, Montana, where they bought a farm, moving into an abandoned house. Things were rustic there at first with drinking water needing to be hauled to the house and bathing in a tub in the kitchen. And of course, there was no bathroom so everyone learned to make trips through the snow to the outhouse! Everyone worked hard as the family began raising cows, pigs, chickens and other animals. Connie was an excellent gardener and grew much of the food the family ate. She was an early proponent of organic gardening, a skill she passed on to her children.
When she had free time, Connie learned to crochet ripple afghans. She made many of them, almost always for one family member or another. Many are still being used today.
They continued living on the farm in Trout Creek until January 2008, when they moved to Potlatch, Idaho, to be near their daughter and son-in-law who had a farm. In 2017 with their health declining, it became time for them to move into independent living. They moved to Bishop Place in Pullman, Washington, and lived there until Bob passed away in September 2021. Connie is survived by her sister, Evelyn; sons Bob and Rick; and daughter Lauretta Sesock; as well as six grandchildren, Doty, Nola, Sarah, Jason, Julie and Caitlyn; and 11 great-grandchildren, Thomas, Andujar, Adam, Elias, Isabella, Sorren, Anna, Elijah, Matthew, Joseph and Cecilia.
A family graveside service was held at the Rock Creek Cemetery in Potlatch on February 28. 2023. Corbeill Funeral Home of Pullman, Washington, has been entrusted with arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to http://www.corbeillfuneralhomes.com