Passing of Ben Stewart

January 30, 1945 – November 20, 2020
Cambria, California
75 Years Loved
Benton Arlus Stewart, also known as Ben, Benny, Benny Boo, Uncle Benny, Benny Bob and Da, was born on January 30, 1945 in Orange, CA to Helen and Jake Stewart. Ben passed away peacefully on November 20, 2020, at his home in Cambria, with a full view of the ocean, his devoted partner Shar and brother, Ray by his side and surrounded by many family and friends that loved him dearly.
Ben grew up in Huntington Beach, CA. He and his brother Ray worked at their dad’s store, Stewart’s Market, begrudgingly sorting recycled coke bottles until the store was sold in 1961. He attended Huntington Beach High School playing Center on the Oiler’s football team until he graduated in 1962. Upon graduation, Ben worked for the California Department of Forestry as a seasonal firefighter. Ben served in the US Navy from 1965 to 1967, stationed on the USS Enterprise in the Gulf of Tonkin off the shores of Viet Nam. When Ben’s stint in the Navy ended, he hitchhiked to Auburn, CA to visit Ray. From there he hitchhiked to New York and purchased a plane ticket to Europe, where he continued his hitchhiking adventure. Ray said Ben made sure to buy a round trip ticket in case he didn’t have any money left at the end, which was a very smart move because he ended up with only $10 in his pocket when he decided to head home. When Ben returned to the US he made the decision to go to college, attending California State University, Long Beach, graduating with a Bachelor’s in Public Administration.
Ben enjoyed a long and rewarding career with Cal Fire. In 1974 he was a Fire Crew Captain at the La Cima Conservation Camp in San Diego County. In 1976 he transferred to Riverside as a Captain in the Southern Region Emergency Command Center. In 1979 Ben transferred to San Luis Obispo County and moved to Cambria where he was the Station Fire Captain. In 1984 Ben promoted to Battalion Chief for the North Coast Battalion, headquartered in Cambria. This was Ben’s longest and most favorite assignment with Cal Fire. In 1993, Ben was assigned as the Battalion Chief-Fire Marshal at San Luis Obispo Unit Headquarters until his retirement in 2000.
Ben frequently expressed that he had no regrets, having fulfilled most of his dreams and aspirations. In 2000, at the age of 55, Ben retired and devoted his time to pursuing the things he loved most including, cooking, music, hanging out with his many close friends, and playing a weekly game of cribbage. He had a true love for sports, especially golf, cycling, hiking and skiing. Ben spent many hours on the golf course with his golfing buddies, including an annual golf trip to La Quinta, CA. In 2016 Ben realized his dream of purchasing a home in Bend, OR where he made many lifelong friends. His dream home had a gorgeous view of the Deschutes River, on the 5th fairway of the golf course, within 20 minutes of Mt. Bachelor Ski resort and within blocks of many hiking and biking trails. When he wasn’t hiking, biking, skiing or golfing he was cruising in his new BMW convertible sports car with his gorgeous, thick strawberry blonde hair blowing in the wind. He was an excellent chef and became known as the master of barbequed steaks and his homemade lasagna, while entertaining friends with music he handpicked with his guests in mind. Over the 41 years Ben lived in Cambria he personally designed and built several beautiful homes. In September 2019 Ben experienced the trip of a lifetime with a river cruise on the Danube River with the love of his life, Shar.
In January 2020, Ben celebrated his 75th birthday at Camp Ocean Pines attended by his entire family, childhood and long term close friends and his CDF/Cal Fire brothers & sisters. Ben got to experience firsthand all of the love that surrounded him throughout his life.
According to Ben, his greatest satisfaction is that he lived long enough to see Donald Trump get defeated. His greatest disappointments were when his beloved Los Angeles Rams moved to St Louis. He then became an avid Oakland Raiders fan, following them from Oakland to Los Angeles and back to Oakland. He finally abandoned the Raiders when they moved to Las Vegas and became a 49er fan.
Ben was loved and adored by many. He had a great sense of humor, was very kind and accepted everyone for exactly who they are. That love was never more evident than in the many acts of kindness displayed during Ben’s illness by dear family and friends and his family of retired firefighters who were by his side throughout his illness and right up until the end.
Ben is survived by his brother Ray, sister Sharon, cherished nieces & nephews Staci Melson (Steve), Sheryl Davies (Scott), Siena Davies, Steve Stewart, Chase Davies, grandchildren Alexandra and Anthony Scrivner, beloved partner Shar, cat sidekick Bailey, as well as many, many treasured friends. Ben was preceded in death by his parents, Jake and Helen Stewart and his beloved cat Homer,
Ben has been interred with his parents at the Cambria Cemetery. A Celebration of Ben’s life will be held in the spring of 2021 at the Cove in San Simeon.
In lieu of flowers, Ben would be honored to have memorial contributions made to the Homeless Animal Rescue Team (HART) 2638 Main Street Cambria, CA 93428 (805-927-7377).

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