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Ben was born in La Puente, N.M., on April 26, 1924. He grew up and attended school in Trujillo, Colo., moved to Pagosa Springs as a young man, and began a career as a mechanic with Morehead Garage and, later, Archuleta County.
In 1944, after meeting Gertruditas Abeyta while working on equipment for her father, Ben was inspired to ask her to dance at a fund-raising event for the construction of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In 1946, they were married at Saint Joseph’s Church in Los Ojos, N.M. Their union was blessed by children, Gertrude Loretta, Benjamin and John. They raised their children and consecrated them in the faith of their family in the old way, La Manera De Antes.
Don Ben was deeply connected to his community. He belonged to the Parish Council of his church, the Knights of Columbus, volunteer fire department, and served on the school board.
All his life, Ben was a rancher as well as a mechanic. After retiring in 1987 as shop foreman for Archuleta County Road and Bridge, he spent his remaining years caring for the family’s ranches in New Mexico and Colorado. He took pride in his children and their accomplishments, and in seeing his grandchildren attend universities and take their place in the world.
The passing of Ben and Gertruditas was a turning of the page in the history of our area. They were a true link to the past and its richness that we will miss.
Ben and Gertruditas were predeceased by their daughter, Loretta, and are survived by sons Ben (Lupita) and John (Yolanda), grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
A rosary vigil will be held at Pope John Paul II Church in Pagosa Springs at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, and a funeral mass Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, at 10 a.m.