Rapelje, Benjamin R.
Bay City, Michigan
Ben passed away on October 11, 2021 at the age of 62 after a brief bout with cancer. He was born in 1959 to the late Lloyd and Marlene Rapelje in Bay City. Ben graduated from John Glenn High School in 1977. Ben is survived by: brothers Lloyd (Linda), James, and Jason (Laura); nephews Michael (Amber), Christopher, and Steven (Taryn); nieces Emily (Josh) and Alexandrea; great-nephews Peyton, Zachary, and Lucas; and great-nieces Summer and Penelope. Ben was also greatly loved by his many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Ben loved reading. He enjoyed frequenting the various libraries comprising the Bay County Library System during his life, regularly checking out stacks of books at each visit. He preferred nonfiction books pertaining to history, science, and nature, particularly the works of Carl Sagan. He tussled for the title of Trivial Pursuit champ with his late Aunt Pat as a result of their both being so well-read. Among the various traits that he received from his parents, he gained a love of gardening from his mother, and a fondness for the TV show Columbo from his father.
Despite never having children of his own, Ben served as a role-model for his two younger brothers, James and Jason, providing aid and guidance whenever they needed it, and at a moment’s notice. In particular, he acted as a father-figure to Jason who is 17 years his junior, teaching him among many other things, how to ride a bike and swim, and instilling in him his love of books and learning.
Ben also enjoyed going on nature hikes and camping trips with his brothers and extended family. He preferred the outdoors and he hated air conditioning. He was a hard worker who held many tough jobs throughout his life until his retirement in September 2021. He worked at Euclid Industries from 1987 to 1998, and for the Hope Network for the past 12 years where he was well liked by both his coworkers and the residents of the various buildings for which he served as a Housing Assistant.
Ben was a gentle and quiet person, and above all else, a kind soul. This fact will be incontestable by all who knew him. Ben’s mere presence evoked a state of calm, and his friendly demeanor was immediately recognizable by both people and animals alike. Ben had many animal companions throughout his life, but his most beloved and loyal companion was a long-haired toy chihuahua named Tiger who, despite his diminutive size, would readily protect Ben against any and all perceived threats. When Ben would leave home, Tiger would sleep next to the door until Ben’s return, upon which time he barked and jumped with joy.
Ben will be greatly missed, but those who knew him are surely the better for it. A Memorial Service will be held at 11 AM, Saturday, November 6, 2021 at the Hyatt Ewald Funeral Home, 700 N. Monroe St., Bay City MI. The family will receive friends prior to the service from 10 AM - 11 AM. In lieu of flowers, those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider memorial contributions to the Bay County Library System (https://www.baycountylibrary.org/) or the American Cancer Society (https://www.cancer.org/involved/donate.html). To sign online guestbook, visit www.cremationsocietymidmi.com