July 30, 1923 — July 10, 2012
LaVerne Benner, a matriarch of one of Minnesota’s Black pioneering families, passed away peacefully in hospice on July 10, 2012 after valiantly battling traumatic injuries sustained in a fall.
LaVerne, the youngest daughter of seven children born to Cornelius and Mattie Benner, was born on July 30, 1923 and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. Orphaned at an early age, she was preceded in death by both parents, and later by her six siblings as well (Cornelius “Bud,” Stanley, Blanchard, Ruth Holley, Helen Guilmant and Bradford Benner, Sr.).
A graduate of Marshall High School, LaVerne later attended business college. She relocated to Minneapolis in the 1950s, where she was employed and later retired from the Finance Department of the Minneapolis United Way.
After being baptized and raised at St. James A.M.E. Church in St. Paul, LaVerne joined and was an active member of St. Peter’s A.M.E. Church in Minneapolis for over 50 years.
LaVerne’s maternal grandmother’s family relocated to Winona, Minnesota from Connecticut in 1850 (before Minnesota became a state). The family later moved to Fargo, Dakota (before the Dakotas were divided into North and South), where her mother was born. The family later returned to Minnesota and settled in St. Paul, where LaVerne was born in the family home on Rondo Avenue. The Benner family played a significant role in the Black community. The family’s civic and community influence continues in the Twin Cities and beyond.
LaVerne is survived by her three children, Linda Benner Parker (Hubert — deceased) of Sacramento, CA; Carlton Benner, Sr., of Rochester, NY; and Carmita Benner Oakley (Larry) of Sacramento, CA; as well as her grandchildren, great grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.
Services for LaVerne will be held at St. Peter’s A.M.E. Church, 401 East 41st Street, Minneapolis, MN, on Friday, July 27. Viewing will be 10 to 11 am, with the funeral beginning at 11 am followed by interment at Lakewood Cemetery, 3600 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Linda Parker, c/o 33 Fourth Avenue North, #101, Minneapolis, MN 55401. A portion of the funds will be donated to St. Peter’s A.M.E. Church Grant Missionary Society in LaVerne Benner’s memory.