Benjamin Eugene Kates, Jr. was born July 30, 1951 in Kansas City General Hospital to Benjamin Eugene Kates, Sr. and Nora Lee McCart. Ben lived an exciting 63 years and passed on July 12, 2015. Ben was a 1969 graduate Rosedale High School in Kansas City. During this time, he developed his passion for sports and he could often be found attending sporting events with his friends and family. There was no greater joy in Ben’s life than cheering on his own kids, grandkids, and his friends’ kids from the stands. He was everyone’s biggest fan. Ben was a graduate of Central State University where he studied elementary education. Ben followed his love for demolition and owned and operated Midwest Wrecking Company in Oklahoma City for 39 Years.
Ben met the love of his life, Peggy Jameson, while attending church in Edmond. They were married on April 3, 1971. Ben and Peggy spent 44 wonderful years growing deeper in love with each passing year. Together they raised four successful children who brought him great pride. Ben had a great influence over his children’s lives. Through his dedication of time to his children, he made a lasting impact that will remain with them forever. Even though everyone loved Ben, his children got the best gift of all… to call him Dad. Ben loved his grandchildren with all his heart and could never give or get enough hugs and kisses. He was always looking for a reason to see his grandchildren in Kansas or in Edmond. When one of his grandkids called him to come, there was no excuse big enough to keep Pa Pa away.
Ben’s faith was such a large part of his life. He attended Faith Bible and invested his time in the church. He was faithful in his commitment to the church through his giving and attendance. He had a great time having his Sunday School party in his big red barn. Ben practiced what he believed in and was always willing to help anyone in need. It was obvious his love for God was real and genuine and impacted how he treated people in his everyday life.
He enjoyed playing “farmer” with his cows, watching his kids and grandkids play in the pool, attending Sunday family lunch, spending time with his friends and family, and helping people in need.
Ben leaves behind the love of his life, Peggy Jameson Kates, whom he called Angel. Ben thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever known. He also leaves a lasting legacy in his four children, Chris Kates and his wife Jean of Edmond, Tim Kates and his son Remington and step-daughter Emily Mitchell of Kansas City, Kevin Kates and his wife Bettina and their three children, Kaylee, Ella, and Benjamin, of Edmond and Rebecca Kates Taylor and her husband Jared also of Edmond; along with his sister Wauneeta Cornforth and her husband David of Edmond and brother Ed Kates of Kansas City; his in-laws Donna Eisenhour and her husband Charles of El Reno, Janice Garlett and her husband Grayson of Calumet, and Don Jameson and his wife Debra of Oklahoma City.
Ben touched the lives of those who knew him with his generosity, kindness, and Christ-likeness. Though he stood 6’3″ and had a towering presence, all which knew him best knew that he was just a big teddy bear and he earned the title “Gentle Ben”. He was God’s gentle giant here on Earth.
A celebration of Ben’s life will be held on Friday, July 17, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at Henderson Hills Baptist Church, 1200 E I-35 Frontage Road, Edmond, OK, 73034. Formal viewing with family in attendance will be Thursday, July 16th, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Matthews Funeral Home, 601 S Kelly Avenue, Edmond, OK, 73003.
Ben had a desire to help educate others and in honor of that the family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Ben Kates Memorial Scholarship Fund, PO Box 14668, Oklahoma City OK 73113.