Ben Ornelaz


Ben John (Benigno Juan) Ornelaz was born February 13, 1926 in Wasco, California. He departed peacefully from earthly life on April 21, 2014.

Ben graduated from Wasco Union High School. He was honorably discharged from the US Navy after serving as a Navy pilot. He received his Bachelor's degree from California State University Los Angeles. Ben received a Master's degree in education from CSUN. His educational career spanned more than 30 years. He began his career in the Recreation and Parks department of LA County. Ben held many positions in the Los Angeles Unified School District. He was a biology teacher and basketball coach at Birmingham High School. He was an instructor of Driver Education and Health at Sylmar High School. In addition he served students as an academic counselor and athletic director. Ben was active in the Latino communities in the cities of San Fernando and Sylmar.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Joan. Ben is also survived by his five children: Rosalie Ornelaz de Torres, Ramona Ornelaz, Linda Fiegley, Thomas Ornelaz and Laura Ornelaz. His loss is also deeply felt by his brothers and sisters: Victor and Bernice Ornelaz, Joe and Margaret Ornelaz, Ann Ornelaz, Lupe and Manuel Rodriguez, Ross and Mary Gutierrez and John Ornelaz.

Mr. Ornelaz had a long and productive life. He is deeply missed by his family and friends. His services will be Thursday, May 1st, at the Mission Hills Catholic Mortuary. Visitation starts at 10:00 a.m.

Published in Los Angeles Daily News on Apr. 30, 2014