Notes to the Eder family from the journal placed in the Reed College Chapel

They all went to the Coast
what more is there to say
when love is action

He is present in all we do,
when he was away from Reed,
thought of constantly, loved.

He is one of my first memories of freshman year. Always smiling.

I first met Ben our freshman year when he lived on the floor below me. What most impressed me about him was his vitality and enthusiasm for all things fun and exciting. He will be missed.

Ben—you glowed with life like no other. We love you.

When I think of life and living to the fullest and being TRULY ALIVE-I think of Ben. He set the example for me of how I could try to be really alive. When Ben wasn’t around we all missed him and wished he was. When Ben was around we all wanted to be with him. His energy always brought me so much joy. Of all the people in the world I know, Ben seemed the least extinguishable. He’s got too much life to ever die. I don’t know when--or if – I’ll ever believe he’s gone. I guess he never will be to me. I love him dearly as a big brother and as a friend. I’ll never stop waiting for that next big surprise hug from him. I’ll miss you and I’ll always love you, Ben.

Ben—in my memories you’ll always be grinning.

Ben, on the crappiest of days you always brought some sunshine into my life. I’ve known you on and off for over three years—you always brought happiness with your smiling face and great big hugs. We love you.

Ben, I remember innumerable times when you were compelled into the crazy, sometimes dangerous life of a Reed student, but through all the work and play , I remember you as a supremely moral person. I am confident that you always act toward the progress of good. You will be sorely missed by all of us and your goodness will live on in our memories, and more importantly, our actions. We will all remain grateful for your life. Much love.

Ben; Thanks for making Hum bearable and convincing me to drink out of a coconut. Love.

The last time I saw you I ate so much tuna I was bleeding omega three fatty acids.

I didn’t know you well. But I knew you to be someone who always smiled, genuinely greeted everyone and were always present to chat with. I still very much see you walking from library to commons. On the lawn in the quad. It seems so odd to think that you aren’t here right now, that I wont see you, that many of my friends miss you terribly already. I hope all is as well as it can be. Love.

Ben—To find the words which would fill the wave that took you is drowning me. The memories of Ben soar like a seagull and break into shore that we never found you on. Your heart rises above while mine plummets. Oh, to the day we can be on even ground and toast yet another smile to life and to death. You as a student, a joker, a friend, a drinker and a smoker, a fisherman and a hoper, a confidant and a smile will forever be securely anchored in the vast stretches of our minds, our hearts , our beings. You will forever linger in sunsets and in sunrises that I watched with you…Love you.

You were like the holy goof. Unshakeable. You survived without a scratch the fire you blew. It seems like you were always blowing fire in one way or another. If you are still at sea, you are not lost. Not lost.

I still believe that nothing bad could ever happen to Ben. I remember some of the stories he told about absurd dangers that he put himself in, and in the way of when traveling, sleeping on the beach in Rio and not being robbed. There always seemed to be an aura around him, like the protected servant of some mischievous god. To me, his life and death alike are reminders that we must at all costs live life with gusto. I could torture myself for a long time imagining his final moments, but if I’ve learned anything from Ben Ill have the wisdom to put on a shit eating grin and do something a lot more fun. “ No sweat.”

Ben—I don’t know what to say. You could always be counted on as a friend in need and are missed. Thank you for all the good times; I am better for having known you.

Ben—a different journey now. You’ll be loved and missed.

Ben-your contagious smile and love of life were obvious—you are loved by many and touched others with your friendship. Peace be with you. Your absence is painful. Eternal love.

Ben—you were a genuine one-of-a-kind real individual and will not be forgotten. You have brought much happiness into my life and will painfully be missed. But I know you are in a wonderful place right now and that brings some comfort to me. Love you.

Good luck with your next adventure.

I knew Ben from Rugby. Rugby attracts all kinds; serious types, tough guys, fun-loving guys, but Ben was more unique than most because he was such a happy peaceful guy. Generally people who are so happy go lucky don’t have the drive for it, but Ben did. I remember his first game because he scored. I thought to myself, “Hmm…looks like we have another good player, maybe we’ll be good this year. We were, we won 15-16 games and shared the league title.

Rugby can be both tragic and invigorating. On a cold sleeting day against a physically overpowering opponent you learn a lot about yourself. Some people quit and give in, and others keep fighting. Ben had spirit, which was special for such a happy guy. He wasn’t driven by internal demons. He was happy in the world and in it. After games at parties we’d always have fun. He was an honest sincere guy you could share an opinion with. He had integrity. How many people really have integrity? Not many. He was a guy you could trust, you could respect, he wouldn’t stab you in the back or speak of people in a petty manner. He wasn’t happy like a fool is happy; he understood how human nature can lead to error and unsightly things but he believed that the good outweighs the bad and so he found peace in this world and undoubtedly will in the next. All my love, Ben.

The paper said two men were seen bobbing in the waves after the boat capsized. Ben surely had to be one of them. Strong in life. Strong in death. Always loved. Always remembered. Thank you, Ben.

Ben, I didn’t know you then and Ill never have the chance. Regardless, I am filled with a tear threatening sadness. My heart goes out to your loved ones on this rainy winter day.

Ben was one of my all time favorite students. Not only did we share a love of learning—we also shared a love of the sea, and I will always feel a connection to this brave young man.

Ben’s enthusiasm was both captivating and embracing. He attacked life with joy and carried us with him along the way. His example helped get me and my wife to Nicaragua for two weeks—something Id never have imagined before. And who knows, we have yet to see Rio at New Year’s. Ben is still encouraging us to go.

From my very first advising session with Ben it was obvious he was a great guy . I always looked forward to talking with Ben whether it was about his life at the coast, my raising teenage kids, or organic chemistry. I’ll truly miss him.

Ben was a bright joy of a person. My work with him was always one of effortlessness. The sorrow of seeing such a remarkable person, already, at such a young age, lost to us all is extreme, even to those of us who only knew him for a few months. While my interaction with him was always meant to be brief, it still feels like a hole without him here on this earth. He will be missed.

Ben was my student in organic chemistry at Reed. He was a wonderful young man to teach. He was always looking for the very best in college—he pushed me and he pushed himself. I’ve always been waiting for Ben to return to Reed and now Ill have to settle for the fine memories that he has left with me. As a parent and a teacher, Id like to express my heartfelt sympathy for your loss.