Benjamin Junior Masek, of Niles

Published 10:21 am Thursday, March 10, 2016

Benjamin Junior Masek, 90, of Niles, Michigan died at 9:50 p.m. on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, at West Woods of Niles following a brief illness.

He was born in 1925 in LaPorte County, Indiana to Benjamin Joseph and Clara Pauline (Gloor) Masek. He was graduated in 1944 from Wanatah (Indiana) High School, and was employed — beginning in his senior year — in the war effort at the Indiana General Plant (now UGIMAG) in Valparaiso. He quickly moved to the Allis-Chalmers plant in LaPorte, and then came in 1956 to South Bend to work at the Curtiss-Wright plant, and bought property in Niles on Brandywine Creek. In Niles, he was employed at Henco Aircraft, National-Standard, and Delta Machine, always working in tool die design.

Benjamin Junior Masek

Benjamin Junior Masek

Ben was a member of Saint John’s United Church of Christ, and Saint Joseph Valley Lodge #4, F.A.M., holding elected offices in both and singing in the church choir. After retirement, he became active at the Niles Senior Center, holding office there, and representing the center as King in the 2008 Apple Festival. He has enjoyed music all of his life, playing the Hammond organ, and singing in the choruses that his employers sponsored. He loved machines and tractors; and also enjoyed photography, especially of his home, gardens, and wildlife on Brandywine Creek.

On May 5, 1961, in LaPorte he married the former Katherine L. “Katie” (Thomas) Worley with whom he celebrated the 41st anniversary of their wedding prior to her death on Dec. 1, 2002. He was also preceded in death by a step-daughter, Nancy VanLue in 2008; and by his brother, Harvey C. Masek and sisters Ruth Alumbaugh, Gloria Brown.

Surviving family includes his children, Karen (Everett) Smith of Niles, Larry C. (Roberta) Masek of Rancho Santa Margarita, California, and Steve Allen (Anne) Masek of Escondido, California; three grandsons and two step-granddaughters; ten great-grandchildren; Ben’s sister, Judith A. Baugh of South Bend, and many nieces and nephews.

The funeral for Ben Masek will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 11, 2016 at the Halbritter Funeral Home in Niles with the Rev. Raymond Fulbright of Saint John’s United Church of Christ officiating. Committal and Entombment will be at 2 p.m. on Friday at the Mausoleum in Riverview Cemetery, South Bend.

The family will receive relatives and friends on Friday at the funeral home beginning at 10 a.m. Contributions in memory of Ben may be made to Saint John’s United Church of Christ.