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Ben Chaiken

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Chaiken, Ben
86, of Phoenix passed away on February 18, 2013 . Born in New York City in 1926, Ben Chaiken was the first US-born member of his immigrant family. After service in the US Navy during World War II, he attended Columbia University and University of Iowa on the GI bill and graduated with a degree in microbiology. While studying in Iowa he met Gwendolyn Scales, who he married in 1954 and they had three daughters. The family moved several times while the children were young as Ben worked in public health in California, Minnesota, and Michigan, before settling in Phoenix in 1967. He became the Executive Director of the Arizona and retired after many years of service. In retirement he served for several years as the Director of the Gerontology Society of Arizona. His daughters lovingly recall him as "the papa" in the classic mold of Fiddler on the Roof, and all remember him as the best story-teller around who kept everyone amused with tales of his youthful misadventures. He was an avid tennis player, chess player, hockey fan, dog lover, and enjoyed his afternoon glass of vodka before sitting around the table and sharing rich conversations over fine dinners Gwenn had prepared. A truly unique individual who will be remembered by all who loved him. He is survived by wife Gwenn, daughters Miriam, Sara, and Rebecca Chaiken, sons-in-law Tom Conelly and Cameron Counters, and sisters Molly, Shami, and Faye. Friends wishing to honor Ben's memory are asked to make contributions to the Arizona in his name.

Published in The Arizona Republic on Mar. 2, 2013
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