He was a hands-on dad; a boy scout leader who took his boys camping all over and would get out of his warm bed in the middle of the night to fix his daughter’s broken-down car. But Ben really found his groove as a granddad; all the grandkids got a Lionel Train. He taught them how to set up the tracks and operate the signals. One day he wanted to have a chair caned. He thought the cost was a little high (Ben was a little cheap), so, like all things he wanted to do but didn’t know how, he went off and bought a book. He’d continue caning for years. But Ben was a true craftsman; a carpenter by trade. Till the end his mind was sharp: well read, watched the history channel and documentaries and he did his fair share of crossword puzzles. He baked, some say just to take care of his own sweet tooth: pies, with homemade crust and chocolate Easter eggs. With his family he’d pass on his love for gardening and canning. Nighttime found him enjoying an Irish coffee; he also loved hitting Flea Markets and chasing down antiques.
A young lady sent Ben letters while he was stationed in occupied Germany during the Korean War (1950-1952). He’d look up the beautiful Mildred Class when he returned to the states. Ben and the late Mildred would share a 66-year marriage blessed by three children, Kathleen (Daniel) Fitzpatrick, Alan (Denise Weaver) and Nancy (Anthony) Minichini and later by grandchildren, Caitlin and Sean Liebel, Luke and Christopher Fitzpatrick and Nicholas Minichini. He is survived by his sister, Rebecca Orr; and niece, Lisa Mellas.
Come celebrate 91 great years Wednesday 10 a.m. till noon at Sweeney Funeral Home, Beverly where there will be a noon service. Interment Lakeview Cemetery, Cinnaminson. Donations in lieu of flowers to the Popcorn Park Zoo (ahcares.org) will be appreciated.