Benjamin Joseph Fleagle

A smile seen round the world. Benjamin Joseph Fleagle, probably sometime in the early 1940s.

A smile seen round the world. Benjamin Joseph Fleagle, probably sometime in the early 1940s.

Here is a photo of my Uncle Ben taken, I would guess, around the time he graduated from high school, smack in the middle of the Second World War. His full name was Benjamin Joseph Fleagle, the first name being prominent among males in our line (for a discussion about this, see this post about Benjamin Edward Fleagle), the second name probably being a commemoration of his grandfather Joseph Coffin, though there may have been other namesakes as well.

I did not know Uncle Ben very well, and never lived in any proximity to him and Aunt Muriel, but I always liked him; my interactions with him over many years always assured me that he was both kind and easy-going. He was not a person who elbowed ahead of others in conversations, so even when the family gathered I did not often hear him speak, and although I dimly remember his voice,  his image in my memory is that of a silent or gently chuckling figure standing or sitting at the edge of a ring of people (rarely in the center), easily amused by others’ anecdotes, always smiling. Because of his perennial gleeful countenance, I find I can easily pick him out of pictures even as a baby — he seemed to have been born with gladness radiating out of him.

Born on 10 April 1924, Ben was the third child of James and Jennie Fleagle and the first of what the family called the triplets (Ben, Vivian and Dick) because they were all born so quickly in succession. His lifelong career was in the military. He joined up during World War II as an airborne radio operator in the U.S. Air Force and was a veteran both of that war and the Korean War. In later years he served as a consultant for the military in the building of radio installations around the world.

He married Muriel Elizabeth Brown in Baltimore on 25 November 1948. She and Ben lived in San Diego when I first became aware of them. My family visited them when I was a boy in the late 1960s. They had two daughters, Jill and Cindy (Muriel and the girls are alive and well at this write). After their girls were grown, Ben and Muriel moved to Colorado Springs for many years, and finally ended up back on the East Coast in Williamsburg for Ben’s twilight years. Uncle Ben died on 12 February 2013 in Williamsburg, aged 88 years. – mdf

For a larger version of this photo, click here.

Image archive ID:
20150701_007_benjamin_joseph_fleagle

About the physical photograph:
Nothing written on back.

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5 thoughts on “Benjamin Joseph Fleagle

  1. Pingback: Benjamin Edward Fleagle | Fleagle and Dowell Family History in Photos

  2. Pingback: Foster Cousins Reunion, Michigan 1946 | Fleagle and Dowell Family History in Photos

  3. Pingback: Fleagle clan at Colonial Park, 1925 | Fleagle and Dowell Family History in Photos

  4. Pingback: Maggie (Foster) Coffin with grandchildren Ben and Vivian | Fleagle and Dowell Family History in Photos

  5. Pingback: Willard Foster Fleagle and Benjamin Joseph Fleagle | Fleagle and Dowell Family History in Photos

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