Benjamin Ray Green, born August 21, 1929, to Leo Patrick Green and Grace Mae Moore (Holiday) in Kansas City, Kansas, died August 20, 2018, at his home in Sparks, Nevada.
Ben had lived a remarkably full and good life, seeing the greatest America had to offer. He deeply loved this country.
As a young boy, Ben and his brother, Charles Tommy Green lived simple lives in the height of the great depression. Their father followed the oil fields, ending up in Santa Fe, New Mexico working as a chef. Their father worked long and hard and scraped by to provide for his boys. Ben and his brother lived with their dad during their formative years, moving from Santa Fe to Los Angeles.
Ben attended Hollywood High School in Los Angeles and was founding member of a social club called the “Cobras.” During high school, Ben worked a variety of jobs including grave digging and ice delivery for the ‘refrigerators’ of the time. Ben was working the ice delivery truck on V-E Day and told the best stories about the celebrations in the city and how the driver crashed the ice truck. Ben graduated high school in 1947 and worked in a variety of jobs, including, tuna fisherman out of San Diego and as a singing bartender.
In 1956, while in Los Angeles, Ben met Sheila (Corinne) and they fell in love. Eloping to Las Vegas for marriage, the two would wed and spend the next 61 years together. Their story began in a small home in Baldwin Park, California. Dad always remarked about how happy they were, in that small house on the corner. As their journey continued, seeking the American dream they opened their first business. A small hamburger joint, based on the emerging success of “In and Out”, Sheila’s Drive-Thru in Whittier, California never took off. They closed the drive-thru and eventually opened Ben Green’s Shooting Supplies in South El Monte, CA.
Dad was in his element owning a gun store. He loved to shoot Trap and this gave him the opportunity to do so with his friends. Selling guns and shooting supplies fit our dad, he had friends hanging around the store and always had stories to tell. Later in life, our dad would still talk about the life-long friendships he made at the gun store.
In 1970, after years of being told they couldn’t have children, Sheila was pregnant. Thomas Patrick Green was born one week after the Sylmar earthquake damaged their home. Two years later, Daniel Raymond Green was born and dad had his sons. By now, Ben was working in real estate and earned his broker’s license. He opened his own office, Green Bell Realty, in Eagle Rock, California.
Like many other families, the steady decline of quality of life in Los Angeles led them to move to Sparks, Nevada. Bens brother had lived in Reno for years and Ben was familiar with the area. Ben had also travelled to Reno when he would shoot trap at Mustang and Lazy 5 and to see his father who owned and operated Kellogg’s Café in Lee Vining, CA.
In 1978, Ben folded his business and sold the family home in Eagle Rock. Moving to Sparks, Nevada was a big change. In short order, Ben started selling real estate in Reno. He worked for several firms and was eventually a broker. He sold the first developments in upper Hidden Valley in the early 1980s and homes to many people in the area. Many of his customers became life-long friends.
Ben sought leadership roles in the community, to include President of the Reno Sparks Board of Realtors, Commissioner on the Washoe County Board of Equalization and Commissioner by appointment of the Governor to the Nevada Real Estate Ethics Commission.
Eventually retiring from real estate, Ben enjoyed travelling in his motorhome, golfing and time with his family. Always an outdoorsman, Ben never missed an opportunity to fish. He especially loved the Eastern Sierras and camping at Twin Lakes. In the late 1950s Ben and Sheila would vacation to Bridgeport, CA and nearby fishing areas, so the high Sierra would always draw him back.
Everyone who met Ben, especially later in life, commented on his youthfulness. They could not believe he was as old as he was! Although we enjoyed his energy and drive for life, it made losing him all the harder.
The 9 months prior to his death were not filled with suffering or illness, just a slowing down. At the time we didn’t want to admit it, however his hourglass was emptying. Small things, like shortness of breath and a lack of energy were all signs of what was to come.
In August 2018, as his youngest grand daughter was headed to school in Washington State, he fell ill. A trip to the emergency room revealed an obstructed bowel and emergency surgery was initiated. Following that surgery, his condition worsened, and they did a second surgery. The two events and his dwindling health were too much for his body; there was nothing more that could be done. We brought him home to be with his family and he passed away two days later, surrounded by all that loved him so much.
Ben would have been 89 years old and is survived by his wife of 61 years, Sheila Corinne Green (Bigge), his sons, Tom Green (Jenny) and Dan Green (Michelle), his grandchildren, Madison Sanchez (Ben), Peyton Green, Cole Bianchi-Green, Bodie Green and Kade Green, as well as his niece, Pat Dubaniewicz.
Ben would always comment on how hard getting old is. He would say, “One thing about getting old is you outlive your friends.” He truly outlived most of them. Although he lived a full and happy life, we all miss him terribly. Death is that inevitable fate we all live with, yet the life he lived left a big hole for us to fill.
At his request, there were no services or memorials. He was cremated at his request. He wanted everyone to remember the laughs and intimate moments, the golf and the friendships. A kinder man I have never known.