Gottardo (Ben) Antonio Benzonelli was born on March 2, 1926 to Antonio and Erminia Benzonelli in Arcata. His family moved to Elk River in 1935. He attended Arcata Elementary School, Janes School, Elk River School and Eureka High School.

Ben went to work for John Lorensen (Elk River Dairy) at the age of 16. He worked there from 1942 to 1946. He then worked moved to Escalon and worked for Jones Construction Co and Escalon Implement and Hardware from 1946 to 1947.

Ben proudly served in the Army with the occupational forces in Japan as an MP.

For most of his life he worked as a heavy-duty equipment mechanic. He was a proud member of the Operating Engineers Union for 65 years.

Ben enjoyed many years at his “Aching Back Estate” in Miranda. He maintained a large garden and orchard. At 89 he retired his pruning shears. He continued his love of gardening at his home in Eureka to his last days.

Ben had a very in inventive mind and he often engineered or designed whatever was needed.

He had excellent recall and was better than a GPS when traveling.

Ben and his wife Stella enjoyed traveling the US, Canada, and Italy. He was especially happy to meet his cousins in the Lake Como area of Italy.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Stella; daughters Rosie Benzonelli, Sue Benzonelli-Blanchard (Steve Blanchard), Regina Benzonelli (Rich Corsi); grandson Jacob Warwick; brother Joesph Benzonelli; sister Carlotta Cloney (Stan) and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Mary Jean Estevo, and his nephew Curtis Estevo.

A special thank you to Hospice for all their loving care. Ben looked forward to their visits. We appreciate all they did for him and our family.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either Hospice of Humboldt 3327 Timberfall Court, Eureka or The Micheal J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Graveside service will be Friday, October 2, 2020 at 1 p.m. at St. Bernard Cemetery. Masks and social distancing required. A celebration of his life will be at a later date (post-COVID).


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Ben Benzonelli’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.