Ronald Benjamin was remembered by the people who celebrated his life as a man who loved "his neighbour as he loved himself" and who gave selflessly without looking for reward or adulation.
Ronald, fondly called "Andy" and "Benji", created a positive name for himself wherever he went. He was a pillar at Benji’s Bakery, Guaico Tamana Road, Sangre Grande, a 100-year-plus family business, and served the people in the far-flung communities where he delivered bread and other goodies with humility.
He passed away on October 4, 2020, at the age of 63. His funeral service was held on October 7 at the Chapel of Clive Allen Funeral Services, Sangre Grande. Ronald's children Ryan, Kristel and Annelise shared in delivering the eulogy.
People in the community where he lived and in the areas where he extended a hand to the less fortunate were plunged into mourning with news of his sudden death. "Gone too soon," many said.
Benjamin lived to serve–in his family business, his mother (whom he prepared a meal for daily), in his home, in his community, and in the US Boys All Fours Club. He was a key member in the club's annual charity drive where they fed and distributed gifts to the less fortunate children.
He loved hunting and tended to his estate in Caigual, which had a special place in his heart, evident from the time he usually spent there, amid his hectic workweek. No one could dissuade him from going to his estate, even if it was words of care that he should rest his body for a day. It was his place to unwind and recharge; it was non-negotiable.
Generous to a fault, he lived by the adage "Do good wherever you can, and good will follow you." He always spoke about the joys and rewards of giving and encouraged his children to do the same.
For his son, Ryan, Ronald "lived the perfect life" caring for his children and family, community, and his wife Chandra "Maggie", who pledged to love him even in another lifetime and again choose him as her husband.
"My father lived the perfect life. He lived three simultaneous lives, all were genuine, respected and loved. Daddy was a father in our home, a father in everyone's home on both sides of the family. He was a son and everything to his parents, siblings and the business that he could be. Daddy was the same in the community and to people we have never met.
"As children growing up, people would tell us that when they were small, they had nothing to eat at home and didn't have a cent, my father fed them, gave them some money and sent them to school. The same children my father helped are grown and still remember his kindness and generosity. He contributed to their lives and the community while remaining humble.
"He learned from our grandfather Kenneth, uncle Trevor, who passed in February 2019, and the rest of his siblings."
Benjamin's daughter, Kristel, said many people that passed through the family's bakery often recounted how Ronald was a father figure to them. "He was a father figure to the people who work at the bakery and even the father of the bride for persons other than myself."
Kristel followed in her father's footstep 18 months ago when she made "the most difficult decision in her professional career" to resign her job and join the family bakery. "Today I can say it's one of the happiest decisions I've made." During that time she was able to work closely with her father and experience his professional approach and level of dedication to the business.
Annelise, the baby in the family and known as "her father's child," spoke of his loving, caring nature. "He told me, always try to help someone if you can, 'you never know when you will be in a position where you want someone to help you.' " He attracted what he lived–people, some of them strangers, reciprocated by showering him with items that he never had to pay for, she recounted.
She said she happily assisted her father in selling fruits from his estate and would be in awe by the nature of the man. "We would sell fruits from Caigual, 20 citruses for $20, but everyone would say they got more than 20 in the bag, 25 or 30." It was her father's simple way of giving back to others.
Ronald will be remembered as the loving son of Ancilla and Kenneth Benjamin (deceased), brother of Trevor (dec), Mona, Susan, Ingrid, Janice, Derek, and Wayne. Husband of Chandra "Maggie, Father of Ryan, Kristel and Annelise. Father-in-law of Ronald Ian Sooklal and grandfather of Kristian. Brother-in-law, uncle and friend of many.