Veterans Burial Rites header graphic -  - The Bidwell Funeral Home of St. Anthony, Idaho


Ben Bainbridge- Bidwell Funeral Home
Ben Bainbridge

DECEASED'S NAME  - Bidwell Funeral Home of St. Anthony, Idaho
Ben Bainbridge


   Benjamin Crawford Bainbridge, 92, died Jan. 20, 2011 in the Madison Hospital following a short illness with pneumonia.

Ben, the son of William and Rachel Patterson Bainbridge, was born Aug. 24, 1918 in a farmhouse in the Packsaddle Mountains above Tetonia, Idaho where his parents tried to make a living on a potato farm. Four years later, Ben and his family moved to North Powder, Oregon where his dad got work in a sawmill. When he was nine years old, Ben’s father lost his leg in a sawmill accident. When his parents divorced, Ben went with his father to Marysville, ID to live and work for his uncle and aunt Gifford. Ben attended Marysville Elementary, leaving school after the 8th grade to work full-time when his father’s health worsened. Ben often “rode the rails” to return to Oregon to see his mother and sisters, thereby dividing his growing up years between both places.

After his father died, Ben worked in Oregon in a sawmill and in a CCC camp before joining the U.S. Army. He went to Ft. Dix for training and was there when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. As Ben was being prepared for war, he met Hilda Grob at a USO dance. She was a kindergarten teacher in New Jersey. They fell madly in love and enjoyed a 3 week whirlwind courtship before he was sent overseas to fight in Africa. Ben and Hilda became engaged and their courtship continued via mail while he drove a tank, fighting the Germans across Africa and then into Italy. Near Anzio Beach, in Italy, Ben’s third tank was destroyed in battle. He and his commander got out alive, but a German threw a grenade at them and his commander was killed. Ben lost his right arm and was captured by the Germans. His capture only lasted an hour before other Americans surrounded the cellar they were hiding in. Ben talked his captors into surrendering and he was sent back to a MASH unit to take care of his injuries. After arriving in Atlanta, Georgia to heal from his lost arm, Ben and Hilda made plans to marry.

They were married in North Bergen, New Jersey and then went to Oregon to try to make a life for themselves. When it didn’t work out in Oregon, they moved to Ashton, Idaho, where Ben worked at the Laurel Leaf Gas Station, across the tracks from the train depot. They lived in the little back room there until Ben finally got a job at the Ashton Power Plant as an operator. Because there was no housing available, Ben and Hilda lived in the kitchen of the Ashton Hotel on Main Street, until a stone house on Idaho Street became available. They moved in there a few days before their first child was born. While living in this tiny home, Ben and Hilda had four children before they built their house on Highland street and had one more child.

Ben worked at the power plant for twenty eight years. He most enjoyed volunteering with the Idaho State Police for over 30 years. For many years he also served as a deputy for the Fremont Co. Sheriff Dept. Once Hilda retired from teaching school in Ashton, Ben bought a motor home and together they traveled the country for about six years. Hilda died of cancer in July of l988.

He met Klara Varga eight years later and she has been with him ever since, blessing Ben’s life. Ben will be greatly missed by his wife Klara and his five children- Bill (Diane) Bainbridge, Springfield, MO.; John (Dee) Bainbridge, Payson, AZ.: Karen (Brad) DeBow, Rexburg, ID.; Maureen (Ron) Spencer, Wilder, ID.; Heidi (Dennis) Jackson, Washington State.; 20 grandchildren and 56 Great Grandchildren.

At Ben’s request cremation was handled under the direction of the Bidwell Funeral Home in St. Anthony. Memorial services will be conducted Saturday, Jan. 22, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. in the Ashton LDS Church near the cemetery, with Bishop Lynn Ballard officiating. The family will receive friends at the church one hour prior to the services. Interment will follow in the Ashton Pineview Cemetery where military rites will be performed by the Ashton Military burial unit.


Back to Obituaries

  (208) 624-7177 Bidwell Funeral Home of St. Anthony, Idaho E-mail the Bidwell Funeral Home