November 21, 1923 - March 15, 2018
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Ben was born and raised in Victoria. He attended Margaret Jenkins Elementary School and Victoria High School. In 1942, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the RCAF. Stationed in England, he piloted 32 missions in Halifax bombers over Germany and occupied France during WW2 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his "utmost courage and devotion to duty".

Following the war, Ben attended UBC where he received a B.Comm. degree. Shortly thereafter, he married Barbara Smith, a romance that started in Grade 3. After a short stint in Port Alberni, Ben returned to Victoria and made the life-changing decision to become an architect. With a wife and young children, he took the unconventional path of correspondence courses and challenging the Architectural Institute of BC courses, all while working as a draftsman. During this period, he hand-built his house in Cordova Bay, the home he lived in for 65 years. As a partner in the firm, Peterson & Lester Architects, Ben designed numerous buildings in Victoria and beyond including: Spectrum Community School, Victoria Coast Guard Base and the Saunders Building at UVic.

Ben enjoyed the outdoors. He was an avid hiker and, in later life, walker with his dog(s). He hiked the West Coast Trail several times, spent numerous summers in Strathcona Park where he scaled Golden Hinde, Rambler Peak and others.

Ben had many other interests including: Opera, Cosmology, Plate Tectonics, Blue Jays and the Mariners, history and crossword puzzles (while totally blind, he regularly did the Sunday puzzles with his family reading the clues). Ben was a lifelong learner, and maintained an interest in current events, politics, and advances in science.

Ben had a wonderful marriage which lasted more than 60 years until Barbara's passing in 2008. He was a good father and was very proud of his children: Eric (Christina), Chris (Linda), Jill (Doug Kot), and Bo (Deise), as he was of his grandchildren: Shannon Kot, Steve Kot (Megan), and Lauren Peterson.

Above all, Ben had a positive attitude. In spite of blindness in later life, he always displayed confidence in the future and never felt sorry for himself. A model to live by.

A celebration of Ben's life will be held at a later date.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Times Colonist from Mar. 17 to Mar. 19, 2018.
Memories & Condolences
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3 entries
August 13, 2018
Our father, Peter Cumberbirch, and Ben were friends. They were a dynamic duo during Vic High days and the connection, defying distance, continued on through the years. Up until our dad's passing, I had witnessed periodically the phone calls between Dad and Ben going over the crosswords. I remember Dad remarking on Ben's recall after he had phoned dad about one word, 34 across with the second letter of 'm'.
Our condolences to the family on the passing of a fine man.
Cumberbirch Family
March 20, 2018
I did not know Mr. Peterson but often came upon references to his architectural practice, Peterson and Lester, and specifically wondered which buildings the firm had designed. In talking with other practitioners the firm seemed to have been very highly regarded. Please accept my condolences. Pamela Madoff, Councillor, City of Victoria
Pamela Madoff
March 17, 2018
Ben was a terrific gentleman and a fantastic uncle. He had a very sharp wit and always seemed content and projected a serene and dignified outlook. I have many fond memories of him, particularly of trips to beyond Sooke beach-combing and at family gatherings. He was a gentle soul and I am sad about his passing. He represented an age of innocence during my childhood. All the best to the Peterson clan and I would like to come to his celebration of life. Nick Smith
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