Sept. 1, 1935 - Dec. 27, 2012
Ben Tatera passed away peacefully of lung cancer on Thursday, Dec. 27, at his home in Vacaville, with his wife of 55 years, Alida, at his side. He was 77 years old. Ben was an only child born to Harry Tatera and Anna Klimek in Chicago, Illinois on Sept. 1, 1935.
Ben is survived by his wife, Alida of Vacaville; son, Bernard Jr. and his wife Darlene Rau of Benicia; daughter, Caroline and her husband Wayne Ward of Galt; son, David of Vacaville; daughter, Anita and her husband Jay Hattendorf of Elk Grove, and son, James and his wife Becky Tatera of Springfield, VA. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, Andrew, Brittany, Spencer, Taylor, Nicholas, Haley, Peter and Walter, as well as his cousins, Cathy Mortensen of Pennsylvania and Martin Tatera of Southern California.
Ben received his Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, his first Masters in Health Physics from the University of Kansas in Lawrence and his Doctorate in Environmental Engineering from the University of Florida
in Gainesville. He later received a second Masters in accounting from Golden Gate University, San Francisco. Ben arrived in Solano County in 1970 from Florida to continue his career as a Major in the United States Air Force, serving as a Health Physicist at the David Grant Medical Hospital working in the Nuclear Medicine Department. In 1979 he was awarded the Air Force meritorious service medal for his service to the United States as Chief, Radiation Science Service, Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine. Ben retired from the Air Force in 1979 with the rank of Major and he continued his work in Health Physics with Civil Service appointments at the David Grant Hospital and at the VA Hospital in Martinez. Ben was active as an adjunct professor and taught management and mathematics classes at Travis Air Force Base for Golden Gate University and Chapman College. In June 1980 Ben was certified by the American Board of Radiology in Diagnostic and Therapeutic physics and in later years Ben provided consulting services in the area of Radiation Safety at various hospitals in Northern California. Memberships include Radiological Society of North America, Health Physics Society, Sigma Xi, St. Mary's and St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Marriage Encounter and KAIROS Prison Ministry. Ben was active in Boy Scouts where he served in adult leadership roles and also volunteered with the Catholic Church youth group. Ben was devoted to his family and to several religious service groups and traveled as part of a medical mission in his later years to Nigeria. For over ten years Ben has been involved in Kairos ministry work at the Vacaville California Medical Facility. He enjoyed frequent traveling during his retirement, going to Bible study, and was an avid sports fan. Ben's family wishes to express their gratitude to NorthBay Hospice for their exemplary efforts in caring for Ben and keeping him comfortable throughout his final days at home. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 1791 Marshall Rd., Vacaville on Thursday, Jan. 3, at 11:30 a.m., with a reception and celebration of his life immediately following. Burial will be at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery at a later date. Condolences can be given to the family at www.bryanbraker.com.
In lieu of flowers, Memorial contributions are preferred in Ben's memory to the KAIROS Prison Ministry Foundation, P.O. Box 4387, Winter Park, FL 32792. Arrangements handled by Bryan-Braker Funeral Home in Vacaville (707) 448-4900.