Benjamin (Ben) Hildebrand
October 14, 2023
In Loving Memory
Benjamin (Ben) Hildebrand
Ben Hildebrand, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, and friend passed away peacefully while sleeping at noon on Saturday, October 14, 2023.
He was born to parents Cornelius and Elizabeth Hildebrand (nee Dyck) on June 7, 1929, in a Mennonite colony near Cuauhtemoc in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico. When he was 9 months old, his family returned to Manitoba where they arranged to trade their Mexican property for property near Gnadenthal, Manitoba. The family lived and farmed in this Mennonite colony until Ben’s father was forced to retire from farming due to ill health. In 1946, the family relocated to Matsqui, BC where Ben finished grade 12.
After graduation Ben became a construction worker who quickly discovered an ability and interest in electrical wiring. This led to an apprenticeship in the trade and employment with an electrical contractor. Work sent him to Ashcroft, BC where he met his wife Vivian (Durieux), whose parents owned the Ashcroft Hotel where Ben stayed. Ben invited Vivian down to Matsqui to meet his family during Christmas 1951. On New Year’s Day, 1952, they and two friends undertook the drive to Reno, Nevada where Ben and Viv could legally marry (Vivian being only 17 at that time).
Ben’s employment in Ashcroft eventually led to a job offer from BC Electric, the predecessor of BC Hyro and Power Authority. Ben remained with the company for 35 years, the last 28 years living in Lillooet, operating the Seton Generating Station. Ben and Vivian’s lives in Lillooet revolved around raising their three daughters and supporting the community. Ben was a volunteer fire fighter and served on many boards and committees including the School Board, Hospital Board, Board of Revision and the Curling Club executive. He was a Lions member, a Mason, and the ice-maker.
Ben and Vivian welcomed friends and neighbours to their house for parties and games (Twister and rumoli come to mind) and there was lots of laughter and sometimes lots of singing. Kids weren’t allowed to join the late night parties so it sure made it tough to sleep.
Dad always had a nap on the couch after work while mom made dinner. He also liked to have his back rubbed while he was lying there. Teenage taste in music and bands wasn’t well appreciated during nap time. However, as young kids, car trips with mom and dad always meant a lot of singing with beautiful harmony.
Ben was always up for driving to swim meets in the summer and going on tobogganing trips in the winter. Generally, the latter meant a car trip out of town to find good hills and deeper snow. If we were lucky(?) dad would tie the toboggan to the back of the car and pull the toboggan along the road. Ditches were not always avoidable.
Retirement allowed dad to spend more time golfing, hiking and coffee-ing with buddies. Ben and Vivian began RVing too. They started with a camperized van and graduated up to a Pace Arrow and then an Airex. They put on a lot of miles, travelling either by themselves or with friends and family. It was always a comfort to take their own bed and kitchen with them when they travelled to visit kids or other friends and relatives.
Family was Ben’s primary focus in the last decades of his life. Having been raised during the Depression and having endured limited resources in his early life, he strived to aid and support his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He could and would fix anything, he was always ready to share his knowledge and expertise with anyone who was interested, and he was always ready to give a hand when asked.
Ben is survived by his wife Vivian, his children Maxine (Phil) of Kamloops, Donna (Ralph) of Logan Lake, Terry (Roger) of Langley Township; brothers-in-law John Molnar of Abbotsford, Norman Durieux of Okotoks; sister-in-law Vivan Hildebrand of Neepawa; grandchildren Erin, Carli, Justin, Curtis, Kyle, Sean, step-grandchildren Glen and Scott and recently discovered grandchildren Carla and Lisa; great-grandchildren Taylor, Seamus, Wren, Leif, Jolene, Rhiannon, Gunnar, Oscar, Cole, Lucas, Emily and William.
Ben was predeceased by his parents and all his siblings; in-laws Arnold, Marion and Duane and recently discovered son Don.
The family is greatly indebted to the doctors, nurses, and other staff at Royal Inland Hospital Emergency Department. Their dedication and compassionate care, not only of dad but also of Maxine and Vivian, was our greatest comfort during a stressful time. Every one of them earned our deepest gratitude and respect.
Ben’s Celebration of Life will be delayed until summer 2024. If you wish to make a donation in remembrance of Ben, please choose a charity that is close to your heart.
Arrangements entrusted to
Cypress Funeral & Cremation Services 250-554-2324
Condolences may be expressed to the family by phone or email through Cypress Funeral & Cremation Services: