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Benjamin Stark ’53

March 6, 2018, in Kent, Washington.

Benjamin grew up in Seattle in a house his grandfather built at the end of the streetcar line in Rainier Beach in 1908. He was oldest of six children known to neighbors as “Stark’s Army.” Fearing attack during World War II, the family moved to a “country estate” in Kent. Liking neither school nor farm work, Ben dropped out at age 16 to work on the Northern Pacific Bridge crew. After the war, he returned to graduate from Meridian High. When his father insisted he attend college, Ben chose Reed. There he met Darryl Irene Johnson ’50. After she graduated, they moved to Newhalem, where Ben surveyed the upper Skagit River for Ross Dam power lines.

Ben and Darryl returned to Rainier Beach to raise a family, and he purchased Western Homes Realty in Rainier Valley. Investing in tax foreclosures—odd parcels someone would want someday—in 1975, he moved his family to a Des Moines, Washington, home he had purchased as an FHA repo. Ben’s two passions were wooden boats and bargains. He rebuilt a classic 39-footer as a salmon trawler and fished out of Neah Bay with his wife and kids as crew. He was active in 33rd district politics and fought the SeaTac Airport Third Runway.

Preceded in death by his wife, Darryl, and son, Steven, Ben is survived by his children Peter, Patrick, Shelly, and Susan, and his siblings, John, David, Fred, and Marietta.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2018

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