Ben was born in rural North Dakota on November 11, 1911, the fifth son of Ole and Ingerid Bakkegard, immigrants from Sogn, Norway. He was preceded in death by his parents, six siblings and his loving wife of 55 years, Ardelle. Ben was an educator who taught all levels of public education from a one room rural school through college. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree at University of North Dakota, his Masters degree at University of Minnesota, and his Doctorate degree at Columbia University. During World War II, Ben served with the Army Second Amphibious Brigade. He later taught at University of Texas, Austin and the University of Arizona, Tucson. In 1958, the family moved to Fresno where he taught music at the Laboratory School and Music Education at Fresno State. He was an active member of Music Educators National Conference, California Music Education Association and served as president of FMCMEA. Ben retired in 1980, as Professor Emeritus of Music at California State University, Fresno. He remained an active supporter of college music education programs and scholarships, and attended concerts at California State University, Fresno. Ben was also involved in his community as a water commissioner of District #14; Boy Scouts Sequoia Council; church officer, PTA, and Sons of Norway. During retirement, Ben expanded his interests taking woodshop and auto shop classes at California State University, Fresno. In 2001, Ben moved into San Joaquin Gardens, Fresno, remaining active throughout the years. He volunteered regularly and enjoyed doing projects in the woodshop with his fellow crafters. Ben had many wonderful friends at San Joaquin Gardens, and he especially enjoyed companionship with them at mealtimes. Ben is survived by his daughter Marilyn Carlton and her husband Kenneth; and granddaughter Rebecca; son David and his wife Karen; granddaughter Kristin; and grandson Benjamin. A Memorial Service will be held at Hope Lutheran Church, December 7, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. Interment will be at Greenwood Cemetery in River Falls, Wi. Remembrances may be made to Music Department, California State University, Fresno, 5214 N. Maple, Fresno, Ca. 93740; or Hope Lutheran Church, 364 E. Barstow, Fresno Ca. 93710.
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Published in the Fresno Bee on Nov. 28, 2013