Benton “Ben” Burnett
Benton “Ben” Burnett, a longtime resident of Peshastin, WA, passed away peacefully on Thursday, October 5, 2011, in Wenatchee. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends, especially his three sons. He was born on October 25, 1929, in Wenatchee to Russell and Nellie (Mustell) Burnett. Ben was raised on his family’s apple and pear orchard in Peshastin, along with his brother, Fred, and his sisters, LaRue and Betty. He had many great memories of his countless adventures with family and friends while growing up in Peshastin. Whether it was hiking and fishing in the mountains of North Central Washington, hunting for jack rabbits in the Columbia Basin, or traveling throughout the American Southwest with high school friends, Ben was always known for having fun. He graduated from Peshastin High School, where he played basketball and baseball, in 1947. Ben enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1950; receiving his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base outside of San Antonio, before being stationed at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver for the duration of his service. Ben always said the time he spent in the Air Force were some of the best years of his life. While stationed in Denver, he met his future wife, Patty Jean Miller, a pretty, young nurse originally from Winchester, IN. The two met on a blind date arranged by mutual friends. Benton Burnett married Patty Jean Miller on August 2, 1952, at the Base Chapel, Lowry Air Force Base. Following his active duty service, he and Patty moved to Peshastin in 1953, where they made their home on the family’s fruit orchard. Soon they purchased an orchard of their own and began over 50 years of farming together in the Upper Wenatchee Valley. Patty truly was the love of Ben’s life, and they were inseparable until her passing, soon after their 56th Wedding Anniversary in 2008. Ben and Patty were blessed with three sons, Mark, David and Brian. Ben was an active, caring and loving father to his sons. All three boys have great memories of a dad who let them build huge multi-story tree houses in the giant poplar trees in their front yard; let them play “Rat Patrol” army games with real Jeeps in the orchards; taught them to play baseball and coached their Little League teams; followed them as they played sports in high school and college; took them fishing and hunting; taught them to drive a car; and taught them good work ethic. Everyone who knew Ben also knew of his passion for collecting antique battery and windup tin toys. For over 30 years, he collected and traded toys from around the world. Most of his toys were made in post-war Japan in the late 1940s and 1950s. This hobby allowed him to meet and correspond with people from around the globe. One highlight being when he sold a few of these toys to a collector in Japan, whose parents had worked in the factory where those very toys had been made, just after World War II. He had been a member of Peshastin Hi-Up Growers since 1954, having served nearly 20 years on the Board of Directors; he was a member and Past Commander of Peshastin American Legion Post 85; and, he was a member of the Peshastin United Church of Christ. He had also served on the Boards of the Peshastin Community Water Association and the Chelan County Fair.
Ben is survived by son, Mark and wife, Robyn of Cashmere, son, David and wife, Cindy of Wenatchee and son, Brian of Peshastin; grandchildren, Alisa and husband, Eric, Leanne, Ryan and wife, Anastasia, Collin and wife, Kayleen, Adam, Vanessa and Denise; and great-grandsons, Tyler and Jason. He is also survived by two sisters, LaRue McKellar of Cashmere and Betty Dart of Moses Lake. He was preceded in death by his wife, Patty; his grandson, Travis; and his brother, Fred.
Services of Commemoration will be held Saturday, October 15, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. at Peshastin United Church of Christ in Peshastin, with Rev. Dr. Ann Hinz officiating. Committal Service and Interment will follow at the Peshastin Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations may be made to the Peshastin United Church of Christ or Toys for Tots Foundation in Ben’s name. Services are under the direction of Ward’s Funeral Chapel, Leavenworth.