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Benjamin Lewis DeCrease

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Benjamin Lewis DeCrease Obituary

Benjamin Lewis DeCrease - book lover, teacher, mushroom hunter, mountaineer, Amazon tech geek, bon vivant and loyal friend - passed away in Seattle, on February 1, 2015, at age 32.

Ben is survived by his parents, Dean and Chris DeCrease, and his girlfriend Kathryn Madden. He is also survived by his grandparents, Bill and Patricia Sitter and Alberta DeCrease; his maternal aunts, uncles and cousins, Judy and Jim Horton and cousins, Jacob and Jenna Horton, Karen and Dave Frackowiak and cousins, Bill and Natalie Frackowiak. He is also survived by paternal aunt and uncle, Beth and Drew DeCrease, and cousins, Gabriel and Anna DeCrease. He was deeply loved by family and friends.

Ben's paternal grandfather, William DeCrease, passed away on March 27.

Ben was born in Erie and moved to Seattle at age 5. At the time of his passing, he was employed at Amazon headquarters in Seattle, as Browse Developer and Taxonomist. Prior to Amazon, he was an Electronic Services Librarian at Wenatchee Valley College and was Archives Operational Lead at Microsoft in Redmond, Wash. Ben received his MS in Library & Information Science from the "iSchool" or Information School, at the University of Washington in Seattle in 2011. While at the iSchool, he provided technical support and training to iSchool faculty and students. He also served as Chair of the Association for Information Science & Technology and received the 21st Century Award from his peers, as "the student who best embodies the future of the library and information science profession." Ben received his BA from Washington State University at Pullman, Wash., in Digital Communication and Culture (Summa Cum Laude), in 2007. While a student at WSU, he worked in archives and special collections library.

Books filled Ben's life, well before his career in library and information science. He began buying and selling rare books as a young teenager. At WSU, he was a taxonomist for the collections at the university museum. After graduating from WSU, Ben was employed at Wessel and Lieberman, a leading antiquarian bookseller in Seattle.

Ben lived life to the fullest. He was an aficionado of music, films, cars, travel and food. As a teenager, he volunteered at the Seattle International Film Festival, where he was thrilled to work as an aide for Quentin Tarantino and other filmmakers. He completed summer internships in Paris, Turkey and Greece, and often vacationed in Europe and Asia.

Ben was dedicated to family and was a deeply loyal friend. He enjoyed Belgian beers, especially when shared with his fellow "Guybrarians," and iSchool buddies at the College Inn. Owing to his prowess on the dodgeball court, Ben was known as "Two Scoops" to his colleagues.

Ben was passionate about fitness and the outdoors. A longtime member of the Mountaineers Club, he enjoyed bouldering and alpine climbing, running, hiking, and mushroom hunting. Ben deeply valued his connection to nature and the tranquility it brings.

Accordingly, in lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to a Winter Garden Project, to be established as a memorial to Ben and a healing place for all to share. The garden is to be sited in a quiet area on the north rise above the labyrinth at the Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier (LEAF). A woodland type of garden highlighting trees and plants with winter, or very early spring interest (decorative bark or forms, early bloomers, especially fragrant witch hazels); the winter garden symbolizes hope and emergence.

Those wishing to help fund the Ben DeCrease Memorial Garden at LEAF can send donations to Bay City Gardeners, PO Box 856, Erie, PA 16512. Contact Chris at 814-323-2111, if you would like to be involved in the Winter Garden project.

On Sunday, April 19th, there will be a service for Erie and East Coast family and friends. The service will be held at 3 p.m. in the chapel of the First Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 250 West 7th St., in Erie, with a social time following in the parlor.

Sign the Guestbook at www.GoErie.com/obits

Published in the Erie Times-News on Apr. 16, 2015
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