Ben R. Barnhill of Bloomington passed away peacefully Monday (Oct. 30, 2017) in Bloomington, surrounded by his family.
He was born Feb. 4, 1941, in East Prairie, Mo., to Paul Wesley and Howard Gordon Barnhill. The family moved to Harrisburg when Ben was seven years old.
He married Kathy Wiley on July 10, 1964. Survivors include his wife, Kathy; daughter, Kristin (Tim) McCoy; two grandsons, Alexander Smith and Aidan McCoy; two brothers, Larry (Becky) Barnhill, Harrisburg, and Paul Barnhill, Bradenton, Fla.; brother-in-law, Roger (Elizabeth) Wiley, Punta Gorda, Fla.; sister-in-law, Marilyn Wiley, St. Louis, Mo.; and three nieces and five nephews.
One brother, Jack Barnhill, and five sisters, June Barnhill, Betty Taylor, Jane Boggs, Sue Barnhill and Mary Ann Barnhill, predeceased him.
Ben joined the U.S. Navy the day after graduating from Harrisburg High School in 1959, and was truly proud of his service to his country. Counted among his cherished memories are the two years he served as medical corpsman while stationed on Guam.
Attending Murray State University, Ben received both his bachelor of science degree in 1967 and his master’s degree in education in 1968; later he did post-graduate work at Illinois State University. After graduating from college, he and Kathy moved to Bloomington after accepting offers to teach in District 87. Ben taught economics and American history at Bloomington High School for 32 years, retiring in 2000. He was admired and respected by his students and stayed in touch with many of his former students throughout the years. Ben enjoyed each day of his teaching career and was a visible, vocal supporter at Bloomington High School sporting events.
Ben was a private and humble man who loved his family and treasured the many friends he made throughout the years. His golfing buddies and fellow sports enthusiasts were truly special to him. In addition to his passion for golf, he was a dog lover who adopted five Great Danes, one little mutt and two very special yellow Labs over the course of his life. When he could take long walks with them (especially Lucky and Lilly the last 12 years) and have his grandsons along for the walks, those were the best of times for him.
In keeping with Ben’s wishes, cremation rites have been accorded. His memorial service will be 11 a.m. Friday at Mausoleum Chapel, East Lawn Memorial Gardens, Bloomington.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials may be made to the Community Cancer Center, 407 Vernon Ave., Normal, IL 61761, or Barnes Jewish Foundation Siteman Cancer Center, PO Box 790369, Saint Louis, MO 63179-9917.
Condolences may be shared with the family at eastlawn-bloomington.com.