Benjamin E. Kershner Jr.
Benjamin E. Kershner, Jr. passed away peacefully on Nov. 30, 2015, surrounded by loved ones. Ben had battled ALS for more than two years and bravely endured until the end. He was born Sept. 1, 1943 at Eglin Field, Fla. He was raised in Canaan, Vt. and upon graduation from high school, joined the Navy. He proudly served his country aboard the USS Conway (DD507) as a radioman from 1961 through 1966. He returned home to Vermont and began his 38-year career with IBM. He married the love of his life, Kathryn Zehnacker on Nov. 29, 1969 and together they raised two sons, Jeffrey and Danny.
The family spent most of its summers on the boat cruising Lake Champlain and sometimes just relaxing on the docks sipping boat drinks with fellow members of the DPYC. His winters were spent snowmobiling, and he loved few things more than a trip to Canaan with his sons to ride some trails and meet up with old friends at the Northland and the American Legion. Later in life, the snowmobiles were replaced by ATVs, which were later replaced by his Commander “Big Red,” as he called it. He and Kathy rode all over Vermont and New Hampshire, and even explored the Hatfield-McCoy Trails in West Virginia. He especially enjoyed the “Ride the Wilds” trails and the Tall Timber Lodge in Pittsburg, N.H. Getting out on the trails was Ben’s passion and riding with him was always an adventure.
Ben was a life member and strong supporter of his local VFW in Essex Junction. He served as a trustee and was well known to everyone there. He gave his time to handyman projects, fundraising, cooking, and even did a little bartending. He was also a member of the American Legion Post 47 in Canaan, and saw this as another opportunity to stay connected with and support his fellow veterans.
Ben is survived by his wife of 46 years, Kathy; his two sons, Jeffrey (Renee) of Essex Junction and Danny (Laura) of Sugarland, Texas; and grandchildren Samantha, Zachary, Shelby, and Cameron. Ben is also survived by his brother Ronnie (Eileen) of Kaneohe, Hawaii and his sister Vickie (Alfred) of Bristol, R.I.; as well his mother-in-law Mildred and many nieces, nephews, and brothers- and sisters-in-law.
Special thanks go to John Stansbury of PVA, the staffs of the VA Spinal Cord Clinic in White River Junction, the ALS Clinic at the UVM Medical Center, nurses of the VNA, and Dr. Tania Bertsch, MD.
Ben’s life will be celebrated in a private graveside service per Ben’s wishes. In lieu of flowers, Ben would appreciate a gift donation in his honor to the ALS Association. Gifts can be offered through ALSA.org or mailed directly to the ALS Association, in memory of Ben Kershner, Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 6051, Albert Lea, MN 56007.