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Ben F. Acuna

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Ben F. Acuna Obituary
Acuna, Ben F. CARLSBAD --Ben F. Acuna passed away quietly on December 23, 2012, after a short illness. Ben is survived by his beloved wife of 70 years, Molly; sons, Fred and Ben Jr.; daughters, Virginia Tammarine and Linda (Gary) Fry; 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his siblings Ray, Tom, Fred, Carmen; and granddaughter, Jeannette Acuna; and is survived by sisters, Annie Mendez, Alice Garcia; and brother, Mike Acuna. Born in El Cajon, California, on April 1, 1920, Ben came to Carlsbad as a four year old and attended the only school in Carlsbad: Pine Street Elementary. He graduated from Oceanside-Carlsbad High School and entered the Navy during World War II. During that time, he and his three brothers served in the Pacific Theater. Ben learned his love of flying while in the Navy and after the war he purchased a Navy Surplus airplane with his brother, got his pilots license, flew all over San Diego County and kept his airplane in the airport located on Chestnut and El Camino Real in Carlsbad at that time. Before the war, he married Molly Enriquez of Oceanside. They've always lived in Carlsbad where they raised their four children: Fred, Virginia, Ben Jr., and Linda. He worked for Conrock as a truck driver/dispatcher and retired after thirty-eight years. During his retirement years, he spent time with his family and grandchildren by taking them to San Diego Charger and Padre games, teaching them how to fish in the lagoons or body surf at Tamarack Beach, but most of all, he dedicated himself to bettering his community. Ben was one of several citizens who helped transform an old church on the corner of Roosevelt Street and Oak Avenue into the Carlsbad Boys Club in the late 1940's. Carlsbad's Holiday Park has a gazebo and dance floor because of Ben's involvement and organization of time, materials, and volunteers. While Molly was his true love, baseball was his first love. Ben believed that it was important for the young citizens of the community do something with their free time. So he helped organize Carlsbad's first Little League teams. Ben would also coach the Carlsbad Lions Club Little League team for seven years, winning six championships and one co-championship. In the beginning, the games were always played at the Pine Street Elementary School baseball field. After work, he could be found dragging and preparing the fields for each game. He also organized volunteers to build the much needed dugouts at that time as well as making the field "regulation ready." Once again, materials, time and labor were donated by him and other involved citizens. Without Ben's help, the San Diego Gas and Electric Company wouldn't have realized the need for better lights for the night games that began occurring as the league grew. They donated new and better lighting for the community's only baseball area at that time. He also helped organize and coach the city's first Colt and Pony League Baseball teams as well as an adult baseball team (which helped start Doc Edwards of the Cleveland Indians on his way to professional ball), thereby giving the young men in the community a chance to continue playing baseball after Little League age. He later became involved with Carlsbad's first Girls Bobby Sox teams, coaching a first year championship team. Ben had always believed in making available to all youth the opportunity to be able to participate in team projects, whether it was in sports, clubs, or scouts by organizing and providing what needed to be done to make it successful. He had been very involved in the community of Carlsbad all of his life; always in school, civic, and especially youth organizations. Besides involving himself with his own community, he had found time to help those underprivileged families in the small villages below Ensenada by providing clothing, toys and food. Ben was a lifetime PTA member of the Buena Vista Elementary School and the Pine Street Elementary School. He was involved with the Mexican-American Association for over fifty years and served as President, Vice President, and Treasurer several times. This organization has provided scholarships for over fifty years to deserving high school graduates of all ethnic backgrounds. For years, this club with Ben's help, provided monthly teen dances in the Carlsbad High School gymnasium thereby giving the young people a safe place to be on weekends. Also, through this organization, he helped purchase the pitching machine that has been used by the Carlsbad High School baseball teams. Ben was also involved with his wife Molly in establishing the Carlsbad Girls Club. He was an honorary "Grandfather" of the Girls Club for many years. As a senior citizen, Ben once again, helped organize and build the present horseshoe court at the Holiday Park. He and others continued to maintain and play in this area for many years. As a member of the Senior Citizens of Carlsbad organization, he helped in the beginning with the Meals on Wheels program as well as providing transportation for senior citizens for medical or personal trips. Ben had received many commendations and recognition from local clubs and organizations, state supervisors and congressmen. However, being a very modest man, he was involved with his community for his own personal satisfaction and not for the recognition that he has received for over sixty years. Since he retired, he and Molly tried to spend as much time as possible on their ranch in Aguanga while still helping in the community whenever possible. Ben was an incredible man and will be deeply missed by his family, friends and community. Military Services at the gravesite will take place at Eternal Hills, Oceanside, on Saturday, January 5, 2013, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a Memorial Service at the Carlsbad Community Church, 3175 Harding St., Carlsbad, at Noon. In lieu of flowers, family has asked that a donation be made to the Carlsbad Boys and Girls Club or to in his name. Sign the Guest Book Online obits.nctimes.com

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Jan. 2, 2013
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