William Benjamin Zolper, Jr.
AGE: 91 • Wilmington
Ben died at home on March 3, 2014 at the age of 91.
He was born in Wilmington in 1922, son of William B. and Marion Zolper. Growing up in the Highlands area, he graduated from Wilmington High School and the University of Delaware. College was interrupted when he volunteered for the U.S. Navy
, participating in Officer Training at the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern. He was assigned to a mine sweeper serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific as a Lieutenant j.g. Returning home, he finished his BA, spent time in Morelia, Mexico and Cuba to improve his Spanish then went to work for DuPont, initially in international sales. In Wilmington he married Patricia Carey Ryan. Moving to Glen Rock, NJ, Ben continued with DuPont retiring in 1984. He started a second career in real estate soon afterwards. In 1991, Ben and Pat planned and built a summer home in Boothbay Harbor, Maine establishing their winter home back in Wilmington. Many happy years of summering in Maine with family and friends were combined with winters shared with childhood friends and relatives.
Ben treasured his family and his Catholic faith. He passed on his own Boy Scout training to his sons and taught his boys and wife to sail. He also enjoyed Mexican food, adventure, debate, politics, genealogy, reading, golf and opera. He sang in chorales as an adult with the Brandywiners in Delaware, Orpheus in New Jersey and the Lincoln County Chorus in Maine. He was also known to play the guitar and share his unique humor.
Ben is survived by his wife Pat; brothers, Richard and wife Leanne of Glen Mills, PA, Ted and wife Debbie of New Castle, DE, sister, Mary Ellen Cummings of Ithaca, NY; sons, Ben and wife Sharon of Bangor, ME, Tom of Annapolis, MD, Peter and wife Johanna of Fairfax Station, VA, John and wife Betsy of Vienna, VA and Andy and wife Linda of St. Petersburg, FL. Ben also leaves fifteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.
A Mass will be celebrated in honor of Ben's life at St. Ann's Catholic Church, 2013 Gilpin Avenue, Wilmington, DE at 11:00 am on Saturday March 8, 2014. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Ministry of Caring, 506 N. Church St., Wilmington, DE 19801-4812 (www.ministryofcaring.org
Chandler Funeral Homes & Crematory