Cleo Seiler Benjamin Jr. (Ben), of Oak Harbor, Wash., passed away June 24, 2020, at the age of 87. He was married to the love of his life, Joyce Darlene Benjamin (Fairfield) of San Jose, Calif., for more than 60 years, and was a loving father of seven children, and grandfather to 12 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Born July 19, 1932, in Newport, R.I., to Cleo S. Benjamin Sr. and Phoebe Beatrice Mare, his family endured hardship during the Depression era — leading to a life of humility and appreciation for the important things in life: family, health and friendship.
As a young man, Ben followed his father’s footsteps and joined the U.S. Navy where he was fortunate to see many places around the globe. He served on the USS St. Paul with his father, fought in the Korean War and was later stationed at NAS Whidbey, where he made Whidbey Island his forever home.
After being honorably discharged from the Navy, Ben joined the Brotherhood of Carpenters, Union #1532 as an apprentice and within a few years transitioned to a journeyman carpenter where he constructed buildings, bridges and roadways throughout Washington state. Ben had a passion for the outdoors — enjoying hunting, fishing and camping.
Once you met Ben, you quickly realized that he was a one-of-a-kind person and you’d never forget him. He was an open book and told it like it was — unfiltered and direct; he spoke the truth. But he was also a man with a heart of gold and would give the shirt off his back to help someone in need. He worked hard and never took anything for granted and appreciating everything he had.
The world lost an amazing man on June 24. He is greatly missed by his family every day. Thank you for providing a foundation for happy and prosperous lives — you are the best and will never be replaced. God bless you and may you rest in eternal peace.