Ben Procter, 85, emeritus professor in history at Texas Christian University, died Tuesday, April 17, 2012, from complications of Parkinson's disease. Celebration of life: 3 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at University Christian Church, 2720 S. University Drive. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Ben Procter Scholarship at TCU, TCU Box 297044, Fort Worth, Texas 76129; or The Summerlee Foundation, 5556 Caruth Haven Lane, Dallas, Texas 75225. Ben Procter was born Feb. 21, 1927, to Hazel Barnes and Leslie Chambers Procter in Temple, where they lived until moving to Austin in 1939. Ben was the quintessential student-athlete, graduating from Austin High School in 1945 with academic honors while lettering in four sports. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served until World War II ended. Ben entered the University of Texas in 1946 and earned membership in Phi Beta Kappa and received All Southwest Conference and All America honors in football and obtained his B.A. degree in 1951. Ben was drafted by, and played briefly with, the Los Angeles Rams before an injury led him back into education to prepare for his longtime career in teaching. Ben's degrees include B.A. and M.A. degrees at the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Ben joined the faculty at Texas Christian University in 1957 and began a rewarding association that lasted 43 years. Ever appreciative of the excellent students that TCU attracted, Ben enthusiastically participated in bringing a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Alpha Theta (an honorary history fraternity) and a Ph.D. program in history to a growing TCU student enrollment. It has been estimated that he taught nearly 10,000 students in seminars and classes, which included U.S. history, Texas history and the American West. While teaching, he wrote or co-wrote numerous books and articles that brought him awards such as "Favorite Teacher," Professor of the Year, Summerfield G. Roberts Award (best book contribution to Texas history), Minnie Piper Fellow (one of 10 professors chosen each year for outstanding teaching and scholarship) and was named by TCU as an "honorary alumnus" in his retirement year of 2000. Ben belonged to and served as president of many historical associations, plus the Sons of the Republic of Texas, Distinguished Alumnus Award from Austin High School, the Longhorn Hall of Honor and was commissioned an honorary admiral in the Texas Navy. Ben was an active Democrat for more than 60 years. Ben's long and useful life will be remembered by many students and friends with great joy and appreciation. He was preceded in death by his parents; his only brother, Les; and his mother-in-law and father-in-law. Survivors: Wife of 60 years, Phoebe; and son, Ben.
Published in Star-Telegram on Apr. 29, 2012.