Merrill Bennett Stenberg

October 28, 1930 ~ June 25, 2020 (age 89)


Merrill Bennett Stenberg

M. B. Stenberg, (Bennett) 89, of Greensboro, Georgia passed away on Thursday, June 25, 2020 after a long fight with throat cancer. A Celebration of Life at the grave site in Lawrenceburg, KY will be held for the family.

Bennett was born October 28, 1930, the fourth son of Ove and Alma Stenberg, of Colman, South Dakota. Loving cattle he worked hard on the farm but particularly liked playing his trombone, playing basketball and just having a lot of good old Danish fashion post-depression fun. He was a graduate of Egan High School in 1948 and then joined the Navy Reserve serving on the Great Lakes Saint Lawrence waterways.

Bennett and Darlene Lee Jacobsen were married on December 10, 1950 and went onto raise four children. God works in mysterious ways and after a divorce he married Doris Erickson Jessen. In dads later years he said “I’ve had two great wives.”

Bennett and Darlene moved off the farm in 1960 and he began his career and passion trading cattle, managing and owning stockyards. He attributes a lot of success to his mentor Roy Frankman of Oleson Frankman Livestock Commission Firm in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota stockyards. He went onto build a solid and successful business in Sioux Falls with Dakota Livestock and Adam’s & Daugherty. The challenges grew bigger in 1969 Bennett and Darlene moved the family to Louisville, Kentucky where he was named the Executive VP of the Bourbon Stockyards. He was known as the Vince Lombardi of Livestock marketing, also managed the Cincinnati Union Stockyards as well as owning the Somerset, Ky Yards and the Clay Wachs stockyards in Lexington. In fact, he changed livestock marketing for ever in the South from a weigh in market to a weigh out market. He was recognized for his accomplishments by the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Governor Louis B. Nunn and Bennett was appointed a Kentucky Colonel. 

He was always active in his church and always sought out the most senior and accountable minister to hold him straight. Pastor Gravdal of First Lutheran is but one example. Trading cattle was done by word of mouth, on a handshake, your word and integrity had to be non-wavering.

After retiring from cattle trading, he enjoyed his horse farm near Salvisa, Kentucky, breeding mares, foaling, saving his favorite to run on the track.  He bought the old Salvisa Hardware store from old man Dickerson and later moved it out on the big highway, (127) where for nearly thirty years he was in business with his son Paul.  An occasional round of golf, a weekend on the house boat at Lake Cumberland, a UK basketball & football game, he loved the Cincinnati Reds or a day at Keeneland with friends like Dan Brooks, Bennett always had a way to make things fun. That’s not to say he was not tough; he could be Danish firm and darn right bull headed at times.  He always taught his children not to play games with God and “never ever knock the rain.”

Bennett is preceded in death by his parents Ove and Alma, brothers DeVere, Virgil, Bob, and sister Elizabeth, and his second wife Doris.

He is survived by his daughters Cynthia Tingle (Warren), DeAnn Clark (Jim), sons Larry (Melissa), Paul (Debbie) his brother David, sister Arlene Lellelid; five grandchildren, seven great grandchildren; many nieces and nephews. Stepchildren Linda Sexton, Chuck Jessen, Scott Jessen, 2 granddaughters, and 3 great-grandchildren. 

Any memorials may be made to Hebron Cemetery, 1008 Forest Hill Drive, Lawrenceburg, KY  40342.  McCommons Funeral Home, 109 W. Broad St., Greensboro, GA, (706) 453-2626, is in charge of arrangements. Visit us at to sign the online guest register. 

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