Benjamin Robert Symmes

  • "This is just so belated. Our family has been so saddened..."
    - Jann, Jay and Nick Marquesen
  • "I am so sorry for your loss. May his happy smiling face..."
    - Patricia Schmidt
  • "Dear Tom, Diane, Arrie and all of your family, I just read..."
  • "Diane, I'm so sorry to hear about your son. Since you..."
    - Peggy Nelson
  • "I'll always remember Ben as part of my childhood. Hanging..."
    - Amy Odell

Benjamin Robert Symmes, 31, of Bozeman, Mont., was lost at sea on July 31, 2009, near Togiak. A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, Mont. Ben was born Oct. 4, 1977, to Tom and Diane (Zenier) Symmes in Lewiston, Idaho. He grew up in Idaho and Alaska before graduating from Whitefish High School in Whitefish. While in school, he participated in hockey and tae kwon do. He was also a member of his high school golf team. From the time he was in high school, Ben spent most summers working as a deckhand on his father's fishing vessel in Bristol Bay. The few summers he was not in Alaska, he worked for the U.S. Forest Service as a firefighter, eventually earning a position on the elite Interagency Hotshot Crew in Prineville, Ore. After moving to Bozeman, he started his own construction business, Symmes Construction, LLC. Ben was an avid outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting and fishing, hiking, horseback riding, camping and spending time at the lake. He also continued to practice his golf game. Ben was a man of exceptional integrity and outstanding character. His friendly nature and genuine concern for those around him was remarkable. He was healthy and strong with a gentle disposition, a compassionate heart and a keen wit. He brought an indomitable sense of purpose and determination to all of his endeavors. He is survived by his mother and her fiance, Diane Zenier and Rick Hyde, both of Sandpoint, Idaho; father and stepmother, Tom and Paula (Wilson) Symmes of Kalispell, Mont; sister and brother-in-law, Arrie (Symmes) and Joshua Frakes of Spokane, Wash.; half-brother, Ryan Symmes; and half-sister, Laura Symmes. The family offers its profound thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Alaska State Troopers and especially the fishermen, local volunteers and all those who donated time and resources during the search and rescue efforts. The Ben Symmes donation account has been established to support search and rescue efforts for commercial fishermen in Alaska. Contributions in Ben's honor may be made to the account at any Wells Fargo bank.

Published in Anchorage Daily News from Sept. 23 to Sept. 24, 2009