Sorry, I haven’t been writing much lately. We’ve been involved in a very painful process. This my tribute that I posted on Facebook about a month ago.
Ben Farnsworth 1967-2016
Last week I lost my firstborn son – Benjamin, “Son of the Right Hand,” – he liked that meaning of his name. He made it to his 49th birthday, and a couple days more, and he was gone. Ben was so strong, how did this happen to him? He worked so hard, even when he wasn’t paid more than salary, yet “on call” 24/7.
Home schooled, he learned to do all kinds of things, from roto-tilling to milking goats, getting jobs at the neighbors’, and even learned to drive a bulldozer when he was a teen. He and his brother Dan were so creative, making up games with their (also home schooled) friend Jacob, creating maps of fantasy countries with monetary systems and rules, and 3-dimensional things out of cardboard. They played in the woods, making forts and trails, learning to throw a Bowie knife and tomahawk, herding Ben’s goats, scaring off bears. Together they built fences and a barn and chicken house, and learned to shoot black-powder pistols.
Later, with so much experience, Ben was able to get a job whenever he needed to. He learned metal fabricating and all kinds of construction and electrical and plumbing work. He could design and build just about anything. He worked at a Great Harvest Bakery and eventually was the one that got there first at 4 AM to open up and get things going. He was the only one, for a while, who could lift the heavy sacks of flour and the huge bread dough sponges. Later, he drove an 18-wheeler for Interstate, several years, but had to stop for health reasons.
Ben loved goats. He had them when we lived at Little Siberia, our home near Duvall, Washington, and he had them later when he worked managing two mobile parks in Bremerton. The goats were good stress-relievers, and he had a lot of stress. The mobile parks were old, run-down, and needed constant repairs and evictions of felons and drug addicts, who kept clogging the plumbing with their needles. Guess who had to slog around in sewer water to unclog them? When the main pipes needed to be dug up, he didn’t call anyone – he rented a backhoe and dug them up himself, to help keep the parks going, without the astronomical expense they would have had to pay. They may appreciate that, now that he’s gone.
He worked at that job for years, dreaming of some day when he could try out all his design ideas and build and make things and sell them, and to go to art school and learn to play his banjo and mandolin. He did get to do some art – he painted beautiful designs, including gold leaf, on the undersides of harpsichord lids built by a friend. But it takes a long time to build a harpsichord, so he didn’t get enough of that kind of work to support himself.
He dreamed of someday having a family, and he did have a stepson for a few years, whom he loved dearly and had hoped to adopt, but things didn’t work out that way. He succumbed to a cancer, brought on by a combination of stress from his job, chemicals he’d had to work with on some of his earlier jobs, and an unfortunate marriage which left him deep in debt, leading to bankruptcy.
He fought it valiantly for over a year, but it was already in stage 4 when they discovered it. It happened just when he was getting his life together again, ready to start a new chapter. But there are reasons known only to God that it didn’t happen. I just wish I knew what they were.
‘bye Ben. You’re still my “Son of the Right Hand.”
Gene also wrote a tribute, which I am including here:
Benjamin Joel Farnsworth 1967—2016 – – – – – –
Ben – – – you left us far too soon on June 2nd at 7:20AM But, you have done more in your short life than many men have done in a life time. Your time on this earth is now complete at age 49 (7 X 7). In your brief stay here, more than your share of roadblocks, obstacles and trials have come your way. But you plowed your way through them with dogged determination and class.
Your life was cut short by a high stress job that you were not paid nearly enough for, and an extremely difficult marriage to someone who was not worthy of you. And yet, with your classic sense of humor, you entertained us by describing some of the more bizarre duties of the job with a smile that would light up any room you were in.
And then, in your final trial, you valiantly fought the good fight with a tenacity I can find no words to describe. And, though you lost that battle with the big C, without doubt, you won the war and now rest peacefully in the arms of a loving God awaiting the time when we’ll all be joined together again for eternity. Farewell, my son – – – we’ll see you later on the other side.
By Bridie McGuire
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