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Ben H. Love

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Ben H. Love Ben H. Love, retired Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) who is remembered for introducing the BSA's campaign against what he called the five 'unacceptables' - hunger, illicit drugs, child abuse, youth unemployment and illiteracy, died unexpectedly in his home in Cedar Park, Texas on Saturday, July 31st after a brave battle against lung cancer. He is recalled not only for his impact as a national leader and visionary to more than 4.7 million youth, but also as a beloved husband, father, grandfather, mentor and friend. He was born September 26, 1930 in Trenton, Tenn., to the late Ben D. Love and Virginia Love-Campbell and attended Peabody High School. Ben later served in the U.S. Army, Forward Observation Unit, during The Korean Conflict, and was stationed in Fort Sill, Okla. where he attained the rank of sergeant. In later years, he also received the U.S. Korean War Memorial medallion coin. He was married to the former Annie (Ann) Hugo from Dyersburg, Tenn. Ben graduated from Lambuth College in the 1950s in Jackson, Tenn. and was recognized throughout his life by prestigious universities and organizations for his many contributions to youth and communities nationwide including: Lambuth College- Doctorate in Humanities; Pepperdine University - Doctorate of Philanthropy; Montclair State College- Doctorate of Humane Letters; the highest award of the World Organization of the Scout Movement - the Bronze Wolf Award; the National Presbyterian Church's God and Service Award; the highest Scouting youth award achievable, the Baden-Powell Scout Award; and the Scout's Vigil Honor of the Order of the Arrow and three beads in Wood Badge Award. Ben also received special acknowledgement from the European Region of the World Scout Bureau and the Inter-American Region of the World Organization of the Scout Movement's Youth of the Americas Award. He was also recognized by Czechoslovakia with its highest award for helping with the reestablishment of Scouting after World War II. Ben had a long, distinguished career with the Boy Scouts of America. It started in his youth, when Ben joined Troop 147 in Trenton, Tenn. and embraced the values and beliefs of the organization. It was from there that he would achieve the rank of Life Scout, and later volunteered as Scoutmaster and neighborhood commissioner. From Tennessee, where he held his first professional Scouting position, all the way to the Islands of Micronesia, where he first introduced many of the BSA programs, Ben's Scouting legacy demonstrates his vitality and spirit in making the organization's vision a reality. The relevancy of his vision persists to this day. He rose through the ranks of the organization, first as a professional Scouter in 1955 for the West Tennessee Area Council in Jackson, Tenn. And in 1960, became Scout executive of the Delta Area Council in Clarksdale, Miss. where he was later promoted to assistant director, then director, and his responsibilities included the production of the Boy Scout Handbook and the Patrol Leader Handbook. In February 1968, Ben was named Scout executive of the Longhorn Council in Fort Worth, Texas and it was during his tenure that the Sid Richardson Scout Ranch was constructed. In 1971, Ben was named Scout executive at the Sam Houston Area Council in Houston, Texas and under his leadership was able to create inner-city Scouting. In July of 1973, he became director of the Northeast Region. In January of 1985, Ben achieved the highest professional honor within the BSA, Chief Scout Executive. He served in this esteemed role until his retirement in 1993. As Chief Scout Executive, Ben's contributions were countless, including the development of the five 'unacceptables' campaign noted earlier; the coeducational Career Awareness Exploring initiative; the introduction of translated Cub Scout literature into Spanish; the introduction of the Troop Operations Plan; and the launch of a national corporate effort to organize and expand Explorer posts. Ben's efforts were also recognized by many world leaders, as he met with former U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush; Pope John Paul II; King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden; American General Normal Schwartzkopf and numerous others. He also received a special letter of thanks from Mikhail Gorbachev for his leadership in organizing Scouting in the former U.S.S.R. The Ben Love Years, a 1993 publication, mentions that his "strategy for growth with balance and quality was to make the BSA's program current and relevant to the changing American family, while still remaining true to Scouting's core values." Ben was proud and honored to play such an instrumental role in the BSA. In addition to his professional career, Ben's commitment to building character presented itself in the personal volunteer positions he held dear, such as serving as: Little League coach, Webelos leader and various positions within his church. Ben was unquestionably as active in retirement, serving as director on numerous national Boards of banks and insurance companies. He was also an avid golfer and boating enthusiast, always driven to make the most of every day with his family and friends. Ben is survived by his wife of 58 years, Ann; his son, Ben Jr.; his daughter Leigh and her son, John Soete Jr., and her husband Gary Wyatt and Gary's children, Tim and Brittany; his son Mark and his wife Angelia and their children Emma and Grace. Ben was predeceased by his son Phil Sr. He was blessed with many wonderful grandchildren - John Soete Jr., Phillip Love Jr. and his wife Christina, Emma Love, Grace Love, Brittany Wyatt, Tim Wyatt and predeceased grandchildren, Heather Love and Joshua Love. A tribute service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 14 at the Beck Funeral Home located at 1700 E FM 1431, Cedar Park, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to a favorite charity. Arrangements under the direction of Beck Funeral Home, 1700 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, Tx 78613 (512) 259-1610.

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Published in Austin American-Statesman on Aug. 8, 2010
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