GARDINER - Benton Foster Thompson, 88, of High Holborn St., Gardiner, went to be with the Lord on Dec. 19, 2013, after an extended illness.
Ben was born on Sept. 12, 1925, in Waterville, the son of Clarence B. and Lena Belmore Thompson.
He attended schools in the Gardiner area. Following his school years he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, leaving with a medical discharge. After being discharged he began his working career in the local shoe shops. Then he began his lifelong career as a truck driver. He drove for Maine Freightways, St. Johnsbury Trucking and Wadleigh's Oil Co. Then he founded Maine Truck Equipment Co. in Gardiner and ran that for many years. Following this he moved to Rockland and purchased and operated Knowlton Moving and Storage Co. and then onto Thomaston where he founded and operated Mid Coast Ambulance Service, also working for the Thomaston Fire Department. During this time in Ben's life, he became an owner-operator truck driver, hauling various commodities throughout the United States. Upon retiring from driving a tractor-trailer, Ben opened up J&B Salvage Co. in Windsor, which he ran until truly retiring at age 78.
Ben joined the Lions Club in 1982 and held many different offices. In 2007 he received the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award, which is the highest award given by the Lions International Foundation. He also was a member of the Masonic Lodge for many years. While living in Windsor, Ben and his wife Joan attended St. Denis Church in Whitefield and were involved in various functions there. Ben also was one of the founding members of Calvary Foursquare Church, serving in many capacities over the years, including helping build the current facility located on Old Brunswick Road, Gardiner.
Ben enjoyed camping with Jeanette and her family with two trips to Florida and many areas here in Maine. One of his favorite things to do was to take a drive in Jeanette's Corvette convertible. Family gatherings were also a great joy to Ben, especially Christmas.
Ben was predeceased by his parents, his wife Joan in 1999, and his first wife, Blanche, in July 2013.
Ben is survived by his companion of many years, Jeanette Weber, of Gardiner; his sons, Clarence and wife Deborah Thompson, of Farmingdale, Fred and his wife, Diane Thompson, of Gardiner; three grandchildren, Fred C. Thompson, of Farmingdale, Michael and Debra Thompson, of Farmingdale, and Judith and Jesse Welch, of Rochester N.H.; eight great-grandchildren, Anthony Thompson, Cody, Casey and Kathryn Thompson, Jordan and Jamie Dean, and Olivia and Fiona Welch.
Visiting hours will be held at Staples Funeral Home, Brunswick Avenue, Gardiner, from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec 26, with a celebration of Ben's life being held at Calvary Foursquare Church, 109 Old Brunswick Road, Gardiner, 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 27.
A spring burial will take place at St. Denis Cemetery in Whitefield.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Calvary Foursquare Church Building Fund.