Benjamin Elbert Veatch, 90, of The Dalles, Ore., passed away Jan. 16, 2013. He was born in Mosier, Ore., Dec. 16, 1922, the first son to Benjamin W. and Erma Veatch.
Known as Ben (or as “Gentle Ben”), he lived most of his life in Mosier and moved to the Oregon Veterans Home in The Dalles in 2009. He was known as Elbert by the extended family.
Ben graduated from Mosier High School in 1941 and attended the National Youth Administration auto mechanic school in Eugene, Ore., with his brother Walter and future brother-in-law Paul Brooks.
In response to the war effort, Ben worked for Boeing Aircraft at the B-17 assembly plant in Seattle, Wash., and later for American Foundry and Hyster in Portland, Ore.
He married Naomi Lois Brooks of Mosier on June 12, 1943, in Parkrose, Ore. They had two sons and two daughters.
Ben entered the U.S. Marine Corps on Oct. 12, 1943. After boot camp, he attended Naval Air Technical Training Center in Norman, Okla., and shipped overseas in November 1944. He served in Guadalcanal, New Guinea, and The Philippines as an aircraft mechanic supporting SBD Dauntless torpedo bombers.
After the war ended, he was assigned to occupational duty in China and was discharged as a corporal at Mare Island, Calif., on Jan. 24, 1946.
Ben was a part-time orchardist and worked in the mid-Columbia area at several sawmills, Union Pacific Railroad, Sunshine Biscuit flour mill in The Dalles, Diamond Fruit Growers cannery in Hood River, and retired while at District 9 Schools. In retirement, he drove the Mosier Seniors bus.
He is survived by four children: Shirley Bagge and her husband, Robert, of Mosier, Bonnie Thomas and her husband, James, of Oregon City, Elmer and his wife, Cindy, of Las Vegas, Nev., and Gary, of Portland; seven grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Naomi, brother Walter and two grandchildren.
Ben loved music, particularly old-time, gospel, bluegrass and swing. He enjoyed going to concerts, reading about string band music and listening to family musicians, especially Shirley and Rob and their annual gospel concerts.
He also was a rail fan and enjoyed reading railroading magazines and chasing excursion steam trains through the Gorge.
A celebration service is planned at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 2, at Mosier Community Church followed by graveside service at Mosier Cemetery.
Arrangements are under the direction of Spencer, Libby and Powell Funeral Home, 1100 Kelly Ave., The Dalles; 541-296-3234.
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