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Obituary: Benjamin “Ben” Rendel Jr

As received from the Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home:

Benjamin “Ben” Rendel Jr., 96, a resident of Keweenaw County passed away on Thursday March 17, 2022 at the Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital in Laurium. 

Born on July 2, 1925 in Dundee, Michigan to Benjamin and Lottie (Oliver) Rendel, Ben attended local schools. At the young age of 17, Ben worked making rivets for Ford Motor Company. On November 1, 1943 he enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II where he served in the medical corps on the battleship USS New York in the Asiatic Pacific Theater and the naval hospital in Pearl Harbor. He was honorably discharged on December 21, 1945.

After discharge from the Navy, Ben worked manual labor jobs which Included pouring molds at a foundry. He became a pilot and enjoyed flying open cockpit bi-planes. 

August 22, 1948 he was united in marriage to the love of his life, Bonnie L. Yeary. Ben and Bonnie moved to the U.P. in 1956 to operate Superior Health Haven in Munising for the owners. From this experience they decided to build Cypress Manor nursing home in Hancock, which they operated from 1970 until selling the business and retiring in 1985. 

In retirement, Ben played in a senior softball league in Leesburg, Florida where he operated a small fruit stand during winter stays. Ben and Bonnie spent summers at “The Farm” in Keweenaw County where Ben grew U-Pick raspberries. He also worked part time during summers in the produce department at Pat’s in Calumet. Ben and Bonnie’s Christian faith was a compass guiding their lives. They were members of the SeventhDay Adventist Church in Houghton.

Preceding Ben in death are his his infant daughter Laura Jean, his parents Benjamin and Lottie Rendel, 2 brothers Roy and Vivan, 4 sisters Velma Hirst, Viola Randolph, Wanda Gilson, and Mable Partlo, his son in-law Joe Freed, and his wife Bonnie, to whom he had been married 72 years. 

Ben is survived by his daughter Diane (Gary) Russell, and his son Brian Rendel, as well as four grandchildren: Chad (Kelly Morrison) Russell, Kurt (Trish) Russell, Tara (Christian) Anderson, and Bret (Jessica) Russell, and seven great grandchildren: Keira Russell, Camille Anderson, Ellewyn Russell, Keri Russell, Brasher Russell, William Russell, and Autumn Russell, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. 

Burial services will be held at Lake View Cemetery May 14th at 2:00 p.m., with military honors. 

Online condolences for the family may be left at http://www.ericksoncrowleypeterson.com 

The Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home in Calumet is assisting the family with the arrangements

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