1934 ~ 2016
beloved husband, father and grandfather, Ben Ray Shippen,
passed away on September 18th. It was early Sunday, still
dark. He was 82. He had suffered a massive and unexpected
stroke the Wednesday before.
Fitting his life to a brief obituary, with the usual listings
of accomplishments, interests and family associations, is
absurd to anyone who fully knew him and his story. Isn't
it so with all lives, especially those lived long and well?
Between his Depression-era birth in Lewisville, Idaho on
Jan 25, 1934, and his death in Alpine, Utah, Ben Shippen
worked his way from poverty to riches. From received religion
to examined and unshakeable faith. From ignorant farm boy
to university graduate. From infatuated suitor to committed
husband of fifty-six years. From small town landscaper to
global entrepreneur. From callow father to trusted mentor
and friend to his six children. From restless and bored
school boy to diligent missionary, to innovative ecclesiastical
leader for thousands. From scrappy and resourceful worker
in his twenties to scrappy and resourceful worker in his
eighties. And these are just the origin and destination
of a few of his life journeys. All the travel in between
influenced countless lives and generations for good. It
filled his mind with
inexhaustible stories he told with infectious and instructive
energy. But make no mistake, his mortal journeys included
the stuff of all lives, including damage, pain and regret.
His final journey was one he did not choose, from remarkable
health on a Wednesday morning to near total loss of faculties
in the afternoon, to the inscrutable traumas and indignities
of helplessness. His closest family and many knowledgeable
healers tried to help him to the end. They counseled together,
as he often did, and sought to do his will. God's will.
But Ben finished the journey himself, on a day of rest,
with trees in his garden laden with fruit.
Ben's parents are Thomas Casper Shippen and Eliza Cordelia
Boyce. His siblings are Tom, Grant, Walter, Ruth, Paul,
Veda, Vera and Naomi. Only Vera remains here. His wife and
loving companion is Nellie Joan Bevan. She remains here
and continues her journeys of service and love. His children
are Greg (and Judy Merrill); Steve (and Suzanne Ostler);
Laura (and Charlie Allen); Scott (and Jaime Powell); David
(and Melissa Long); and Jessica (and Chad Simkins).
They, along with eighteen grandchildren, will remember
his story and try to reflect the best in him, as they continue
their respective earthly journeys without him. But only
for a season...
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, September 24,
2016 at 11:00 am at the Alpine North LDS Stake Center Chapel,
1125 East Alpine Boulevard, Alpine, Utah. Family and friends
may call from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on Friday, September 23, 2016
at the church and again from 9:30 to 10:30 am on Saturday
morning at the church prior to services. Interment will
be at the Alpine City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please
make donations to the Chainbreaker Foundation