Ben Charlie Sr was born to Ellice and Bill Charlie on June 11th,1930 in Topley Landing, BC. He was the youngest son born into a family of ten siblings; five girls and five boys. He and three of his siblings were raised by their grandparents, Cecile and Chief Michell in the community of Old Fort, BC on beautiful Babine Lake. In that era the Indian Agents and representatives of the church were sent to remove children from their families to be sent to “Residential Schools” to be given “religious and proper education”. His grandfather had different intentions and vision for his grandchildren and remained secluded at the hunting cabins until the government representatives left. Ben grew up learning the best and most relevant education by his Grandfather of how to hunt, fish, trap, farm, gather medicines and berries in order to provide for the family and the community. Ben left his grandparents home and began working as a young and impressionable teen boy. He ventured out and learnt all aspects of logging and befriended many employers. He was a quick learner and a dedicated worker in the many jobs he worked throughout his impressionable years. He met the love of his life, Violet and they got married on July 19, 1959. Their life journey began together when their first born twin boys were born on November 4, 1960. They had nine children in total; Ben Jr, Fred, Yvonne, Marvin, Baby Eddie, Lucy, Carl, Jerome and Bernie. They now have numerous beautiful grandchildren and great grandchildren. Throughout his 86 years of life, Ben will fondly be remembered for opening his heart and his home for his family, nieces and nephews that needed parental guidance. Ben and Violet were also a “foster parents” to many children in the community over the years. He has numerous God-children as well.
Ben struggled with severe work related injury in a sawmill accident. But that did not deter him from living life with simple means. He taught his children good work ethic and how to provide for the family through hunting and gathering and sharing his life stories.
Ben’s love of life was evident in his great belly laughs, his hugs, firm handshakes and the reminders to all he met with words of encouragement. He attended many family functions because he truely loved life and those that meant a lot to him. In the summer months he would take the matriarchs and children out to the berry patch. And when it was time to hunt he took his boys out hunting.
Ben was active and devout in faith with the Catholic Church. He also respected many other spiritual beliefs and shared that freely with those whom he encountered.
Ben passed away peacefully surrounded by his loving wife and family on January 3, 2017. He has lived a full, yet simple and a good life. We will live out his legacy of life, love, laughter and faith in a higher power. May God grant eternal peace to Ben.
The Charlie family would like to express sincere gratitude to the medical care team of Dr’s and nurses at the Lakes District Hospital and to the Residential Care team at ‘ The Pines’ for their professional care of Ben. We also are deeply grateful for the love and compassion given to our family through your kind words, thoughts and faithful prayers during this difficult time. Thank you to all our family, friends and the community at large for your visits, emotional and financial support to our family in our great loss. Many blessings to each of you.