Benjamin Willis Anderson, better known as Ben, died Nov. 2, 2012, at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital after surgery for a broken hip, which he suffered in a fall at his home and from the complications of COPD.|
Ben Anderson was born Aug. 3, 1931, in Harding County, S.D., near Ludlow, to Waldemar Peter (Wally) Anderson and Clara Evenson Anderson.
He grew up and attended school at Lanesboro School east of Ludlow, S.D., and farmed there until his marriage in 1959.
Ben married Ardith Darlene Hestekin in April 1959. To this union, four sons were born. They lived in Bowman, N.D., until 1965, when they moved to Montana, where Ben began a 31-year career working as a Caterpillar mechanic. They moved to Fairbanks in 1971. He worked for the N.C. Co., the Caterpillar dealer. As he said, "I traveled the whole state - if it said Cat on it, I'd work on it. I stayed mostly in the villages, but once in a while they'd send me up to the Slope on an overnighter, troubleshooting."
Ben also was an antique car enthusiast, restoring a number of old cars. He was a member of the Vernon L. Nash Antique Auto Club for many years.
Ben retired in 1996 and Ben, Ardy and Max, the dog, headed to the Lower 48 in their pickup and fifth-wheel trailer to become full-time RVers traveling the country and living for a time in Texas before they settled in Huachuca City, Ariz. They lived there until Ardy's death in 2007. Ben's health was declining, so he moved back to Fairbanks to be near his sons in 2008. He was so proud of the log cabin they built for him near Dwain's house.
Ben is survived by his four sons, Craig (Jean) Anderson, Dwain Anderson, and Gene (Leah) Anderson, all of Fairbanks, Frank Anderson of Kent, Wash., and foster son, Boyd Eagon of Idaho. He also is survived by a brother, Robert (Vicki) Anderson of Scranton, N.D.; a sister, Betty (Bill) Austin, Mesquite, Nev.; two brothers-in-law, Gary (Joyce) Hestekin of Bowman, N.D., and Don (Pam) Hestekin, Rhame, N.D.; sister-in-law, Donna (Bill) Connor of Bismarck, N.D.; five grandchildren and three great-grandsons, as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Ardy, in 2007; his parents, Wally and Clara Anderson; one sister, Arlone Larrabee, and two infant brothers and two infant sisters. He also was preceded in death by his father- and mother-in-law, Lyle and Arline Hestekin.
Cremation has taken place and a memorial celebration of life will be held next summer.
Published in Daily News-Miner from Nov. 7 to Nov. 10, 2012