Ben Allen Heikkinen entered into eternal rest on Monday, June 9, 2014, after pioneering innovative treatment for pancreatic cancer. At the time of his peaceful passing he was surrounded by his family. Dr. Rick Breeden, Dr. Jim Spence, Amanda Favor from Basin Home Health, Fran Moffitt and Patty Walters had provided compassionate and loving care to Ben and his family in his final days.
Ben was born Jan. 20, 1940, in Pueblo, Colo., as the proud military brat of an OSI officer in the U. S. Air Force. He was raised on military bases throughout the United States, Europe and Japan. Returning to the States at the age of 17, Ben settled in Colorado where he met and married his best friend Elaine Jarrell. Their partnership continuously strengthened over the next 53 years. Ben and Elaine share three children, Paul, Sarah and Lora Deanne.
Ben proved himself to be a savvy businessman from an early age. He established his career in industrial services in 1963, with Tree Electric, as a shop superintendent. Within five years Ben was ready to launch his own business in partnership with close friend Joe Busby. Together they started Electrical Machinery and Repair in Beaumont, Texas, in 1968. After that business was successfully built, Ben and Elaine established BenEl Ranch in Durango, Colo., in 1978; a 1,000-acre working cattle ranch on which the Heikkinen family shared many "Meaningful Experiences." Desiring to return to industrial services, Ben and his family relocated to Farmington where they established Industrial Repair Service. From that point in, Farmington was Ben's home.
During his life Ben was an active community and national business member serving as the president of Electrical Apparatus Service Association, a director of the First National Bank Board for eight years, and the president of San Juan Economic Development Board for 15 years. He served on the San Juan Country Club Operating Board and was the managing investor for Shooting Par Properties. Ben and his company, Industrial Repair Service, also won the annual VIVA award for the best small business in New Mexico.
In his leisure time, Ben engaged in many activities. In his younger years he was a competitive bowler, and enjoyed skeet and trap shooting. With his family Ben rode off-road motorcycles for years. He skied, snowmobiled, hiked, camped and jeeped the San Juans and La Platas in awe of their mountainous beauty and splendor. With Elaine, Ben golfed with continued determination to improve his game and one day beat her.
Ben's most heartfelt experiences in life were simply sharing it with his family. Ben is survived by his loving wife, Elaine; son, Paul and his wife, Treva, their children, Ashley, Greg, Stephanie, Collin and Sarah; daughter, Lora Deanne; and her son, Aaron. He was preceded in death by his parents, Lucille and Paul Heikkinen and his daughter, Sarah Sue Heikkinen.
Ben wanted to contribute to medical science by participating in experimental trials in efforts to form successful treatment options for others with pancreatic cancer.
Ben and Elaine express their heartfelt thanks to Beth Onners and Dr. Dung Le at John's Hopkins Medical Center for their work toward advancing pancreatic cancer treatment and continuously supporting Ben and Elaine during this quest. At home, San Juan Oncology provided the highest level of care during Ben's journey with cancer. Dr. Castrellon, Dr. Kazmi and the nursing staff even supported and coordinated care with Ben's participation in the trial at John's Hopkins. Dr. Jim Spence was Ben's trusted physician for over 30 years and provided unwavering support throughout Ben's adult life. Amanda Favor with Basin Home Health very quickly became medical family and provided outstanding care during the last weeks of Ben's life. Dr. Breeden was steadfast in his support and direction to Ben and our family during this journey. We cannot begin to express our gratitude for his presence through to the end. The Heikkinen family wishes to thank all of Ben's friends, neighbors and colleagues for their support of him and his family during this, our journey with cancer.
Per Ben's request, private family services will be held at a later date.
Ben's care is entrusted to Brewer, Lee and Larkin Funeral Home, 103 E. Ute St. in Farmington, 505-325-8688. Those who wish to express their condolences may do so at www.serenityandcompany.com.