We Remember

ELDRIDGE, Benjamin Lewis

December 9, 1927 — September 5, 2021

Ben Eldridge was born December 9, 1927, in Falmouth, Nova Scotia, one of 14 children born to Frank and Rebecca Eldridge.  He grew up on a farm and orchard in the Annapolis Valley and learned how to raise animals, plant crops, log, work with a team of horses, and repair anything that broke down or fell apart.  He made a fortuitous decision in 1950 and traveled to Saskatchewan to work on a threshing crew.  He made another fortuitous decision when he went to a Cow and Calf Show, and people told him he needed to meet “the new teacher.”  A life-long love began soon after he saw Merle Prouse, the new teacher, walk into the barn with the sunlight glowing behind her. They were married December 1, 1951.  Over the next 15 years, they moved west to Kelowna, BC, and had five children along the way: Gloria (husband, Jim Fitterling), Karen (husband, Melvin Campbell), Terry (wife, Laurie Eldridge), Nancy (husband, Patrick Lerner), and Gayle (husband, Garry Klammer). They were blessed with ten grandchildren: Ben, Melvin, and Mathew Campbell, Leigh and Dale Eldridge, Katie and Ava Lerner, Lauren and Darrell Klammer, and Noah Lerner, who preceded Ben and Merle into heaven in February 1998.  They also have four great-grandchildren: Ethan, Aria, Daniel, and Clare.

Although Ben’s education was interrupted in Grade 8 when his older brothers went into the Navy in WWII, he valued learning and took every opportunity for more education and more training.  He started his career as a farm hand, became a journeyman mechanic, and retired as Director of Vocational Programming at Cariboo College in Kamloops, BC, where he opened many doors to training and work for young people all over Northern BC.  After his retirement, he spent some years prospecting with his son, Terry, and then set down to the serious business of retirement, which meant, for him, always having something to plan, build, fix, and create.  There was nothing (it seemed) that Ben couldn’t build or fix or invent if it needed to be built, fixed, or invented.

Ben left many legacies for his family.  One great legacy is the cabin at Crooked Lake, which he and the family built by hand from salvaged lumber and logs harvested and milled on the property.  He and Merle spent a great deal of time at the cabin, with one another, and with their children and their children’s children and their children’s friends.  The cabin was, and is, a magnet for family and friends to spend time together.  Another tangible legacy is his woodwork.  Ben was a skilled woodworker and his family and friends have been graced over the years with his handiwork, beautiful wooden furniture and artifacts, all made by hand and all cherished by the people who now own them.  His intangible legacies are his love for family and his respect for education.  Ben and Merle together showed what love of family looked like.

Ben died peacefully at Okanagan Hospice on September 5, 2021, surrounded by family and love.  The family thank the staff at the Village at Mill Creek, who were so loving and good to Dad all the years he lived there, and especially in the almost two years since Mom died.  We also thank the staff at Okanagan Hospice for caring for Dad so compassionately in his last few days.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to COHA (Central Okanagan Hospice Association).

 

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 COHA (Central Okanagan Hospice Association) Link: hospicecoha.org

 


 


Condolences

  • James Oakes says:

    Condolences on the passing of your father. He leaves a great legacy through the lives of his children. Cherish your memories. Jim Oakes

  • Robert Boeckmann says:

    My condolences to Ben’s children, family, and friends. I never had the pleasure of meeting Ben or his dearly departed wife, but I have felt blessed to be friends with his daughter Gloria, and by association come to know her sisters a bit as well. The pictures and memories they shared on facebook of their parents have always brought a smile to my face, inspired me, and left no wonder how Gloria had become such a fine person and have such good family ties. Rest in peace and in the arms of your dear wife.

  • Montserrat Pamies says:

    It’s with great sadness that I hear of the passing of Ben Eldridge. I didn’t know him personally, only through conversation with his daughter Nancy,pictures and the marvelous wood toys he made for his granddaughters Katie and Ava.. I know he was much loved by his family, and respected and esteemed by everyone he came in contact with. a kind, generous and industrious person who never stopped working one single day in his life. May he rest in peace,

  • Karen Thomas says:

    So sorry for your loss, I am thinking about you all xxx

  • Emabeth and Rodrigo Espinosa says:

    Terry and Laurie, our sincere and deepest condolences to the Eldridge family on the passing of your father. May you find peace on the wonderful memories and legacy he leaves behind. RIP 🙏

  • Sherry and John Swinamer says:

    Our sincerest condolences to all Ben’s family. His was a life well-lived with lots of love along the way. We know you will all miss him terribly but will take joy in your many wonderful memories of him and Merle. Here in Nova Scotia, we, too, have great memories of family reunions during their visits.

  • Jeff Thorburn says:

    Our condolences to your family on Ben’s passing.
    Ben and Merle were wonderful neighbours for us for many several years. Watching them walk hand-in-hand daily was inspirational. They treated our children wonderfully, and their Hot Doggers (Made by Ben) are still being put to great use by the campfire.
    Sincerely,
    Jeff, Marie-Pier, Erica, Emma, and Jackson Thorburn

  • Lisa and Yuri says:

    Our sincerest condolences to the Eldridge family. Ben was a beautiful man who had many adventures, a sharp mind and was a gentle soul creating so many wonderful things around him by himself and with loved ones. His love of life shone through with his love for his family and their friends. The Dobrotin family have many fond memories of great times at ‘the cabin’ when the boys were little and in Kelowna. Ben had a gift of powerful inspiration, yet in a most gentle way. We are very appreciative that we got to reconnect with Ben and Merle just a couple of years ago, sitting down all together with Terry and Laurie for a very memorable chat and a cup of tea recalling old times. Rest in peace Ben.
    Yuri Dobrotin and Lisa McGarva.

  • Gloria (Patterson)Macdonald says:

    Sorry to learn of Ben passing, it is just a little over a year since Dad passed-Ralph Patterson. .Dad mentioned when he came home from a ship’s reunion how he had a chance to see Ben and spent an evening with him. I do imagine there were some stories told that evening of their time on the farm.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this time.

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