Benjamin M. Prince, 79, of Mercer Island, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and brother, passed away peacefully on May 5, 2015, after a 2 ½ year battle with brain cancer. Born Aug. 20, 1935, in Oroville to Ben and Hazel Prince, he graduated from Oroville High School and then went on to study math and physics at the University of Washington, earning a BS and MS and completing coursework toward a Ph.D. After a six-week courtship, he and Laura Bindrup eloped, embarking on a marriage of 55 years with three children, Ben Jr., Sharon, and Barbara.
Ben enjoyed a long career at Boeing, from his early days in the AWACS program to his path as an executive in Boeing Computer Services and Boeing Support Services, living in Seattle, Richland, and Washington, DC. In 1973, he completed an executive management program at Columbia University. Throughout his life, Ben also worked behind the scenes on the family business, Prince’s, run by his brother, Jim. He and Jim were grateful for the opportunity to carry on their father’s legacy for many years in Oroville.
Ben loved to fly small airplanes of all kinds, taking his Cessna 182 on many excursions, and even piloting float planes, gliders, and aerobatic planes. While running BCS Richland, he kept a hobby farm with a menagerie of horses and dogs and an alfalfa crop and loved his years as “horse show dad.” He also enjoyed restoring and driving British cars, especially the 1954 MGTF he rebuilt from the ground up. He reveled in the intellectual search for unique solutions to mechanical challenges with these quirky cars – and enjoyed the kindred spirits he knew through the MG clubs over the years. Ben was also an accomplished jazz pianist who played by ear, as well as a talented swing dancer; jazz was the soundtrack of his life.
Despite his busy career, Ben always put family first; he was the rock and center of his family. One of the greatest joys in Ben’s life was being a grandfather to his beloved Madeline and Matt. He was a world-class grandpa, always encouraging their interests and never tiring of the fun and games.
He is survived and forever cherished by his wife, Laura; son, Ben Prince Jr.; daughters, Sharon Wells (Bill) and Barbara Prince; grandchildren, Madeline and Matt Wells; brother, Jim Prince (Marilyn); and springer spaniels Lucy and Ollie.
The memorial service will be held Saturday, May 16, at 2 p.m. at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Mercer Island, Wash. In lieu of flowers, please send remembrances to Emmanuel Episcopal Church or Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation.