BEN WILSON
1929 - 2021
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Our father Ben Wilson, retired teacher and once owner of the El Tiki Supper Club, of Imperial, California, died peacefully in his sleep during the early morning hours of February 18, 2021. He was 91. We were blessed to have him home with us these last few months where we were able to spend precious moments with him. As most people knew, he was an artist, musician, athlete, writer, educator, and business man. A Renaissance Man and Entrepreneur for sure! Of all his accomplishments, the El Tiki Supper Club was his dream come to life. It was a reality from 1962 to 1977 when it closed due to another business venture that called his name, but unfortunately it was not to be. However, when one door closed, the door to a beautiful rock cabin in Julian opened and he happily walked through it. He lived there for many years until he was no longer able to live on his own. In the remaining years of his life, his battle with dementia was lost, but we were grateful to have spent so much time surrounding him with love, hugs, and laughter. He is survived by his children, Teresa Gilbert and Susan Wilson of Imperial, Ben Wilson Junior of Riverside, Mark Wilson of Mesa, Arizona and Brent Wilson of Prescott, Arizona; numerous nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are pending due to COVID but will be announced at a later date. Also, for a more detailed life story of our dad, you may go to; www.facebook.com/groups/1927492467388975/

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Published in Imperial Valley Press Online from Mar. 5 to Mar. 6, 2021.
Memories & Condolences
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13 entries
March 19, 2021
Ben left wonderful memories behind. I remember sitting at San Diego State University, discussing the class we had just attended and the assignments for the following week. Best of all are the memories of floating down the Colorado River on the annual river trips.
Paula Dolf
March 17, 2021
The many memories shared with uncle Ben were too many to count. Always loved his visits and I remember sitting around the family table with my siblings laughing for hours. A wonderful man that our dad admired. He was friend and family. God has his angel back
Xo Eileen Miller
Daughter of Richard Wilson Reyes
Eileen miller
Family
March 11, 2021
He was a wonderful man. I wish I would have known him better. I know that he gave a lot to his family, friends and community. May he Rest In Peace and I am praying for the Wilson family.
Sabrina Yeager
Friend
March 8, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Anthony Paul Islas
Family
March 7, 2021
What a wonderful Uncle is was to all of us nieces and nephews. He was kind, funny, helpful, smart and a wonderful father to his children. I will miss him so much. He was a second father to my sister Linda and I after our father (his brother Clement) passed away. I love you Tio Ben. Rest in the loving arms of Jesus until I see you again. Mike and Marlene May
Mike and Marlene May
Family
March 6, 2021
Rest well with Christ, Mr. Wilson !
Marlene Swanegan (Lavender)
Student
March 6, 2021
Benny and I ran together and he was the best track man I've ever known. We were champs of the San Diego/Imperial Valley League while we were in college.
Arnold Ray
Friend
March 6, 2021
I have many fun memories of doing long lunches at El Tiki during my year at IVC, 1965.
There was such a creative island ambience, good, inexpensive food like the original “Tiki Toes.”
My condolences to Ben’s family.
Paula ( Smith) Rice
San Jose
Paula ( Smith) Rice
Acquaintance
March 6, 2021
Oh Wayne and I used to go to el tiki our daughter Heather Caldwell is teaching now she would eat 2 tomatoes cut up small and loved the nachos with real cheese on it melting later he came in to the American Legion and was a good singer on karaoke and great dancer for new years every year was a very sharp dresser and remembered me from Ben hulse we will miss him fred Douglas loved him also now he's gone in 2019
Trish and Wayne McCollum
Friend
March 5, 2021
Mr Wilson (could not even call him Ben at our 50th class reunion) taught 5th grade at Ben Hulse the year I was in 5th grade. He was young, fun and we were in awe of him. Thru the years he was one of the teachers we all kept in touch with one way or another. We were honored that he attended the 50th reunion for the class of 1964. The Wilson family is a huge part of the history of Imperial and I am thankful to have known him.
Pat Worthington Sundstrom
Student
March 5, 2021
Ben & I taught school at Ben Hulse in Imperial. He invited me to work at the El Tiki doing what is know as moonlighting. El Tiki is where he introduced me to Walter who became my husband. He was always multitasking taking time with his children teaching & the El Tiki. He will be greatly missed. I am pleased to have know him.
Carolyn Roth
Friend
March 5, 2021
Years ago El Tiki was a fun dinner destination. Good memories of eating there. Will never forget putting an olive in the glass before pouring from the beer pitcher! RIP Ben.
Noel Carr, Carmel, CA
Acquaintance
March 5, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
SHERRY HESTER
Friend
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