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About Ben Dodt

Where do I begin?  How do I sum up the most incredible man I know?  It can’t be done in one sentence, one page, one book, one lifetime.  But here’s a start:

His smile lit up a room, it could light up a whole house actually…

He grew up in Illinois with his loving parents Bruce and Esther and a big sister whom he adored, Gwen.  He played golf on the McHenry High School team and caddied at the McHenry Country Club.  His caddying earned him an Evans Scholarship and full ride to the University of Missouri. M I Z – Z O U!

He wanted to be a beach bum in California until a Colorado ski trip in college changed his life.  He fell in love with Denver and the mountains.  He  moved to Denver almost immediately after college.

If Ben wanted something, he didn’t hesitate.  He just went for it, whether he was buying a new backpack, learning to mountain bike, or asking me to marry him.  We got engaged after just 7 months.

He was not capable of keeping secrets… especially when it came to birthday presents.

Ben sweat profusely when he ate spicy food.  You know, like tangy BBQ sauce.

He was good at EVERYTHING. Golf, Tennis, Basketball, Ping Pong, Skiing, Hockey, Mountain Biking, Washers, Running, Kickball, even parallel parking… you name it, he excelled at it.  Infuriating for his opponents – oh so gratifying for Ben.  Yet he was the most humble opponent and always a good sport.

He was thrilled to have in-laws that loved Colorado as much as he did… and FINALLY – three new brothers to joke around and talk sports with!

Ben was SMART.  Who likes calculus 4 anyways?  He was an intuitive civil engineer, but enjoyed office chit chat, trips to the cookie lady, and Friday lunches with friends more than the actual work.

Ben was a die hard Chicago Bulls fan.  But he would still let me watch my chick flicks over Sports Center on most days.

Ben was a pro at camping.  He never went far without his axe, multi tool and pocket stove.  He loved chopping wood, was OBSESSIVE about caring for his tent, and made the best bacon and eggs with our camping stove.

He met the majority of his Denver friends playing pick up basketball at the YMCA.

He loved… well, everything. French toast, frozen yogurt, backpacks, flossing, cooking, yoga, subaru’s, stripes, dogs, gchat, hiking in estes park, gin and tonics, peanut butter M & M’s, playing bean bags and washers in the park, fish tacos, Ayn Rand novels, push ups, vietnamese food, a little game called Celebrity,  Malbec wine, making lattes, sunglass chums, crab legs, Harry Potter, REI…

He used the word AWESOME in most sentences…

Ben was a NATURAL on skis.  Although he started his alpine career on a snowboard, he quickly switched when he realized he could go bigger, faster, and further on skis.  He may have also made the switch because he was sick of his wife joking about knuckle draggers… But of course, before long Ben was attacking moguls, attempting 360’s, and leaving me in his trail of powder.  NOT FAIR!  Vail was his playground, he always had a smile on his face before we even pulled into the parking lot.  We spent many beautiful Colorado afternoons back in Blue Sky Basin cruising down Champagne Glades and video taping Ben’s tricks on Resolution.

Every time his phone rang it played the tune ‘Jammin’ by Bob Marley, so fitting for the happy, laid back guy that he was.  Mr. Marley also said, “LOVE the life you live, LIVE the life you love” – something Ben did SO well.

As our friend Mitch so poignantly said it, “What sticks out to me was Ben’s ability to live in the moment.  So many times we are hung up with what has happened in the past or overly concerned with what the future holds and we forget that the real gift of life is happening today.  Ben got it.  He was always so engaged with whomever he was with and whatever he was doing.  The genuine smile on his face was proof.  Ben loved life and he loved sharing it with the people around him.”

Mitch also shared a poem called “Salutation to the Dawn”, which beautifully illustrates how Ben chose to live life.

Look to this day!

For it is the life, the very life of life.

In its brief course

Lie the verities and realities of your existence:

The bliss of growth

The glory of action

The splendor of beauty.

For yesterday is but a dream

and tomorrow is only a vision,

But today well lived

Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness

And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day!

Such is the Salutation to the dawn.

Ben GOT IT.

He embraced all that life had to offer.  To him, it meant that being home to have dinner with his wife was more important than working overtime.  It meant planning get togethers with friends every chance he could, he LOVED seeing his friends happy and together.  It meant packing lunches, making coffee, dragging a sleepy wife out of bed and heading for the mountains at 6 am so that later we could enjoy the powder day.  It meant calling his parents and sister every week just to chat and say ‘I love you’.  It meant helping a friend even if it wasn’t terribly convenient for him.  It meant giving his wife back rubs and foot rubs EVERY DAY because he knew it made me happy.  It meant not sweating the small stuff.  He truly lived with no regrets.  He GOT IT.

Ben lived for adventure.  Whether it was eating spicy food or climbing another 14er with friends.  Whether it was tackling the instructions to our new espresso machine or moving to New Zealand to be an organic farmer.  He LIVED for it, took risks for it, and he kept that brilliant smile of his plastered on his face throughout all of it.

I had three short years with him, but I learned a lifetime’s worth of lessons by his example.  I received a lifetime’s worth of love.  I am so deeply GRATEFUL and incredibly PROUD to have been his wife.  He continues to inspire me to be a better person.

He was an exceptional husband, son, brother, friend… and he lives on brightly in our hearts and in our memory.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Rhonda Aldrich permalink
    May 21, 2011 9:12 am

    Beautiful website Kate! I will check it all the time. Love you!

  2. Lindsay Robinson permalink
    May 21, 2011 10:46 am

    Kate, I love this! I remember you talking about the new website in Philly. It’s so well done and will put it on my list of favorites. Every time I floss I think of Ben. Haha! Love you. xo

  3. jessica permalink
    May 22, 2011 9:52 pm

    so beautiful Kate! Ben will continue to teach me and inspire me for the rest of my life.

  4. Mel permalink
    May 26, 2011 9:42 pm

    Kate, I am so impressed, this site is incredible. What a great idea! Everything you wrote was so perfect, every picture brings a smile to my face. I am so glad that you did this. Thank-you for pouring in the energy to make this so meaningful. I will look back at this site often. xoxo.

  5. Amy Hooley permalink
    May 28, 2011 7:29 pm

    Every time I visit this site, I love Ben more and more. My heart beat quickens, my eyes get moist, a smile finds its way on my face. He will color our world with beauty always.

  6. Mike Hooley permalink
    May 29, 2011 4:24 pm

    I hiked in Eldorado Canyon this morning with my BCD patch on my pack. It was early, not crowded and beautiful. Thoughts of Ben kept me company and memories of his smile helped me up the hills. With Love Always

  7. Dad permalink
    July 6, 2011 11:47 pm

    Such a wonderful son. We grew together. You are so missed and loved. My heart just breaks each day.

  8. Katie permalink
    November 16, 2011 9:06 am

    wow, beautiful Kate.

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