Lifelong Rio Blanco County resident Ben Long died Aug. 30, 2006, at Pioneers Hospital in Meeker. He was 78.
Benjamin Arthur Long was born April 11, 1928, in Meeker, the son of Theodore Roosevelt and Etta (Meriwether) Long. He was raised in Meeker, attending Craig and Meeker public schools. He worked for 12 years for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service as a trapper, working from Rangely to Meeker, Granby to Basalt and throughout all of Colorado. Ben talked fondly of his time on the Flattops with a tent, horse and pack mule. He worked for many of the old-time lodges doing packing and outfitting work.
In 1950, Ben entered the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. He was a member of the Second Infantry Division, also known as the "Indian Head Division" because of its patch logo.
Ben was wounded in the service, receiving the Purple Heart for his valor. He returned to Rio Blanco County where he did contracting work and later worked as a roustabout in the oilfields having owned Ben Long Contracting under lease to Chevron. He was a life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5843, a lifetime member of the Elks Lodge and enjoyed hunting and fishing.
In 1956, Ben was united in marriage to Ruth Ann "Gooby" Fickle. She preceded him in death on Aug. 24, 1995. Ben is survived by his mother, Etta A. Wooten of White Water; four sons, Raymond (Sherry) Pitt of Tooele, Utah, Bret (Andrea) Long of Astoria, Ore., Benjamin Michael "Mike" (Bonnie) Long of Rangely, Clete (Kim) Long of Rangely; one daughter, Susan (Paul) Shelton of Meeker; 11 grandchildren, Sarah Rydalch, Travis Pitt, Cody Pitt, John Long, Roxie (Casey) Long, Cody (Barbara) Long, Tyler Williams, Zack Williams, Colby Shelton, Hannah Long and Evan Long; two brothers, Bob (Ellene) Long of Clifton and Ronald (Joan) Long of Nucla; and one sister, Norma Jean (Leroy Wright) of White Water.
In addition to his wife, his father and his brother, T.R. Long, preceded Ben in death.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 1 p.m. at the Rangely Camper Park, at the east end of Main Street. Services will conclude at the park with a potluck luncheon.
Memorial contributions are suggested to the Highland Cemetery Veteran's Memorial Fund through Cochran Memorial Chapel, which has been entrusted with the arrangements.