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.Com
m. 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.