Memory from Kelly

When I think of Ben the first thing that comes to mind is his ever present smile. He was never a man to look down on anyone or anything. Ben was able to see good in almost everything. I have to say almost, because even Ben could not possibly love everything..or could he?

I first became friends with Ben during our years at Yaquina View Elementary. We used to work our way into every sporting event that occurred during recess. We never were the superstars, but always had fun in an honest competition.

Ben loved the game of chess and became very good at it at a young age. I had never played the game before when I was convinced to join the chess club. Mr Bradshaw had just taken over the club and he was a great teacher, but I just wasn't very good. Ben took it upon himself to watch my progression, or should I say see over my progression. Ben believed I could be good , and through his inspiration I became one of the better players around. We had many good times at OMSI and the zoo while we took part in the State Chess Championships. Being part of that team was fun, but the games that Ben and I played against each other were always more intense!

During the years of getting to know Ben I became very attached to his family. Bob was out fishing a lot so I saw less of him than Michele or Dylan, but his influence was always present. Michele was the one who had to make sure we didn't burn the house down, or pick on Dylan too much. Ben was very close to his family and so was I. When I was with Ben and Dylan I was treated almost like their third child. Im proud to have gown up with such great people, and will never forget the love they shared with me. What a support group Ben had.

As Ben grew into the man we all knew, he saw the opportunity to help his brother Dylan grow with him, Dylan was always with Ben and I and was not unwelcome. Ben wanted Dylan to have every chance in the world to do whatever he wanted. He showed Dylan his love for knowledge, and life itself. He really loved you, buddy, and still does.

Speaking of knowledge, what word could better describe Ben? There wasn't anything in this world he didn't want to know. Ben was not just an inquiring mind, he was THE inquiring mind. Impressing others was never a goal of his, but how could you not be impressed with such a man? I was blessed to be with Ben in almost every upper level math class through the end of high school. Ben always received excellent grades, but it was not because it was what society expected, it was just the only way he knew. He had a love for all things great and small, and wanted only to be a good person, the best. Ben had great respect for everyone, and did not see himself above others.

I cannot say that I knew anyone that thought Ben would not accomplish whatever he wanted to in his life. It pains me so to think of how such a man can be taken before he got to do so, but that is all bullshit. Ben did what he wanted to. He enjoyed every bit of life and tried to get all to see what he saw.

Ben and I both were raised in fishing families, and as we got older, fishing became a bigger part of our lives. We had many conversations about fishing, and many other things, and behind all of that knowledge and love was a tried and true fisherman. I saw right from the beginning , as we played on the beach ad around it, that Ben had a true love for nature, and the ocean. As he grew and fished with Bob, he learned great respect for the ocean and loved being on it. He loved the all or nothing concept of fishing; it exhilarated him. Sure, money may have been the original intention for him and I both, but money can be made so many ways,and with Ben's mind he was absolutely aware of that. He just loved fishing, and I believe even after fishing , and the ocean took his life , he still loves both. It is very hard for me to go back to fishing after something like this, but that instinct of a fisherman tells me I have to. Ben would want it that way.

I sure wish I could see you again buddy---but I can only enjoy the wonderful memories now. Thank you for always showing me respect and enjoying my company and know that I respected you as much or more.

I saw Ben in the company of many young ladies through the years ( even one he kinda stole from me ;-) ). I saw him treat everyone of them right and with the utmost respect, but I never saw the twinkle in his eye with them that Phoebe brought out. To Phoebe, Ben really did love you and he would have taken such good care of you. I m so sorry that you cannot carry on life physically with Ben, but he will always be a part of you, as he will be with the rest of us

Bob, Michele and Dylan, I love you guys and will share many memories with you, and we will carry Ben's legacy through each and every one o f us.