Maj G. Benson, age 90, of Livonia, passed away on Saturday, April 24 at Angela Hospice in Livonia, Michigan. She was born on June 2, 1930 in Detroit, Michigan to Swedish immigrants, the late Tycko and Mina Emanuelson. She was united in marriage to her beloved husband, Harold Benson, on October 9, 1954.
Maj was a proud and devoted wife, mother and grandmother, who was loved and affectionately known as MorMor. Maj is survived by her cherished husband of 66 years, Harold; her loving children, Karen (Ron) Swinkin and Laura (Tom) Coseo; her grandchildren, Thomas Coseo, Colin (Katharine) Coseo and Kyle Swinkin; and her great granddaughter, Anna Rose Coseo.
Maj loved music and was a talented musician. She began accordion lessons at the age of seven and played it throughout her life. She was a very active member of the Swedish Club in Farmington Hills, Michigan and played traditional Swedish songs at local events and traveled for convention tours. In addition to the accordion, she sang in the women’s chorus, Scandia, for 33 years and was president of the group during the year they performed a singing tour in Sweden. She enjoyed getting together with fellow members and others from the local community at Sunday brunches and celebrations held at the club. As an active member of the Swedish Club, she embraced the Swedish heritage she was so proud of. She also did not shy away from planning other cultural events at the club. She started the tradition of a St. Patrick’s Day party 31 years ago. It became a huge success that members still actively look forward to today.
Maj loved watching the Lawrence Welk Show. She enjoyed the musical entertainment, dancing and especially Myron Floren, one of the stars who played accordion. During a concert and festival in Lindsborg, Kansas, that Scandia performed in, she had the opportunity to meet Myron, a scheduled fellow performer, on several occasions. There they talked of their love for the accordion and interest in ethnic music. Myron was so impressed with her performance at the festival, he asked for copies of the Swedish sheet music she performed. Maj was also fortunate to attend Lawrence Welk concerts and events back in Michigan where they met on several other occasions. These were truly special and memorable times for her.
Maj was an excellent seamstress who crafted many outfits for her two daughters while they were growing up. She loved her children and being active in their education was important to her. She was an avid school volunteer and worked as a room mother, which included planning events and chaperoning student field trips.
Maj enjoyed cooking and creating delicious meals and baked goods, some of which included traditional Swedish recipes. She shared her baked goods at school functions, church get-togethers and with family and friends.
Maj believed strongly in God and her Christian faith. She worked as a Sunday School teacher for many years and shared her vocal talent by singing in the church choir.
Maj loved to travel. Together with her husband, she visited 24 countries and all 50 of the United States. At the age of 17, she was determined to go to Sweden to meet relatives she had never met. She worked tirelessly as a teenager to save money for the trip. She traveled to New York by train, boarded a ship, and cruised across the Atlantic by herself for 9 days, all while carrying her accordion. She was united with her extended family in Sweden and stayed for 3 months in Luleå, a city near the Arctic Circle. There she shared memorable times with cousins, aunts and uncles. She even painted the entire outside of her widowed aunt’s two-story frame house by herself. This trip was one of her fondest memories.
Maj was interested in natural health choices and was past treasurer of the Michigan chapter of FACT (Foundation for Alternative Cancer Therapies). During that time, she helped to organize monthly meetings and conventions, which included speakers and doctors.
Maj was a kind, loving, hard-working and creative woman. She was always there for family and friends if they needed her and was well loved by all. She will be greatly missed.
Arrangements are being made by Fred Wood Funeral Home in Livonia, Michigan. Due to pandemic health concerns, there will be no formal church service or visitation. A private family gathering is planned at Glen Eden Lutheran Memorial Park in Livonia, Michigan.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Swedish Club in Farmington Hills, Michigan or Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Livonia, Michigan.
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