Ben F. Gallegos, Sr., 78, of Toppenish, Wash., died Saturday, Nov. 11, 2006, in Toppenish.
Cremation will take place. A vigil and memorial service at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in Wapato, Wash., will be set at a later date. At that time his cremated remains will be interred at the Elmwood Cemetery in Toppenish. Ben was born Jan. 13, 1928, in Denver, Colo., where he went all through school. In 1954, Ben received his bachelor of science degree in general agriculture from Colorado A&M in Fort Collins, Colo. Ben met and married G. JoAnn Odman in 1955 in Olympia, Wash. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Feb. 26. Ben served the United States as a private first class in the United States Marine Corps during World War II and as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Field Artillery during the Korean conflict. While Ben was in officer’s training, he shared a tent with Martin Luther King Jr. Ben worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs between June 19, 1956, and April 29, 1994. Between 1956 and 1966 he worked as a soil conservationist and then between 1967 and 1994, he was a land operations officer. He and his family lived in Poplar, Wolf Point, Dixon, Lame Deer, Owyhee, Nev., and Chewelah, Nespelem, and Toppenish, Wash. Ben lived in Toppenish for the last 29 years. Ben was active as a Boy Scout and Cub Scout master for 12 years, a Montana commissioner with St. Vincent De Paul Society for 20 years, Knights of Columbus No. 1699 financial secretary for 26 years, usher and greeter for many years, and and EMT for the ambulance in Lame Deer for eight years. Ben’s survivors include his wife, G. JoAnn Odman-Gallegos of Toppenish, Wash.; son, Michael Gallegos of Casper, Wyo.; daughters, Monica Gallegos of Havre, Maria Gallegos of Dillon, Clovia Hofer of Molt and Patricia J. Gallegos of Portland, Ore.; sister, Mary Smith of Denver, Colo.; 13 grandchildren; and three greatgrandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Ben F. Gallegos Sr. To Birthright or any local food bank. Merritt Funeral Home, Wapato, WA has been asked to care for the arrangements.