In Memory

Bennitt Bates

Bennitt Bates

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11/23/19 10:15 PM #6    

Carol Greenup (Cortez)

I apologize. I should have acknowledged Rick - I just didn't know him.  We lost two wonderful souls way too soon. I remember that afternoon someone called me and asked me to look out my kitchen window to see if my neighbor's car (can't remember his name but he and Benny were the only ones driving a TR3) was in the driveway, and it was.  That's when we knew something terrible had happened in Benny's car. And here's to all the other wonderful classmates we have lost either recently or long ago.  We miss you and you will be in our hearts forever.


11/24/19 10:22 AM #7    

Joseph Cesario

I think I may have been  the last to see Benny at OPRF? We had gym class at the end of the day and his locker was right next to mine. On that dreadful day, before we left to go home , I patted him on his shoulder and said that I would see him tomorrow . However, that night he was in the tragic car crash with Rick Loeser .Prior to the accident   I also recall seeing him  a couple of times  drive that  Triumph at very high speeds in and around Oak Park and River Forest.  Ben was a fun loving guy and his was a life cut down way too soon. I remember Benny fondly going back to Jr High when we first became friends. 

11/24/19 02:29 PM #8    

Carol Greenup (Cortez)

So Sad.  When I was back for the 50th Reunion I purposely went to the library, just as you walk in/out because that's where Benny and I had our last conversation.  I hope he knows how much he's loved and missed.

11/25/19 07:20 AM #9    

JoEtta Allen (Costello)

When we were at River Forest Jr. High, Ben and I would talk for hours on the phone every night.  At one point in the other room, my mother said to my father, "I think Benny needs a hobby."  My dad replied, "Benny has a hobby!"  

The last time I saw him was at Marsh's Barbeque which used to be at the corner of North Av. and Thatcher in Elmwood Park right next to Russell's.  By then I was at Elmwood Park High because we had moved to that village.  I was with a few friends from school at a table and he came in to pick up a meal for his family.  He was wearing an OPHS jacket and one of my friends said, "Oh look...there's a Dooper."  I said, "Leave him alone, I know the guy."  We made eye contact and smiled but I didn't go talk to him.  Wish I had now.  A year later he was gone.  I was flattered that when I went to the wake his mother remembered me right away and was so gracious in the midst of her obvious grief.  It was a painful time for all of us. The closest most of us had come to death in our young lives.  It will always be with me.

11/26/19 09:57 AM #10    

Joseph Agne

Knew Benny from homeroom and an evening or two of lighting fire crackers with cigaretts around the home of a mafioso  family in River Forest and a trip to see his dad in the Pridential building (I believe). Knew Rick from Latin Class and remember Ms. Madison crying with grief as she told us about his death. Two good brothers. 

11/27/19 05:51 PM #11    

Sue Coblens (Young)

Benny was my lab partner in biology, and helped me with the difficult parts.  He gave me a piece of gum before taking  off in that car that day, and it is difficult to express, but that is still such a strong memory, a part of my grief.  I'm grateful to read all of the responses here.  It set me searching for the flower I pressed from the funeral, and I discovered that the petals are still beautiful.  All of this brings me to really wanting to attend our next reunion.  

11/27/19 07:58 PM #12    

Patty Kennett (Black)

 I know, he looks so young and so did Rick,  I will never forget all of us at the funeral home, I believe it was the first wake I ever attended, it was a memory I will never forget.

11/28/19 11:24 AM #13    

Robert McLaren

The reason the Romans placed their mausoleums along roads like the Appian Way was because they believed the interred lived on when the traveler observed or read the name on the cornice. Benny lives on in the memories of his classmates and friends.

12/05/19 08:07 PM #14    

James Hess

We played basketball by Bennys garage for hours on end for years. Great family with a fun atmosphere always. He always had a grin or smile on his face. We were at football practice when we got word of the accident. As I recall.

12/06/19 08:57 AM #15    

William Sheehan

I did not meet Benny until second semester 7th grade when we moved to RF from OP.  What a great guy.  Rick as well.  Jim Hess is right about football practice.  As I recall some of us went to the accident from practice still in uniforms when we heard.  We were all pretty young to experience such a tragic loss so early in life. It is heartbreaking to think about it now and realize how much we have all experienced since that moment that Benny and Rick were never able to live through.  Rest in peace.

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