Ben York 1924 - 2011

Post date: Nov 1, 2011 3:51:59 AM

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of one of our own: Ben York. Ben was a member of the San Diego Unit and a true leader, mentor, and friend to many. Our deepest condolences are extended to his family.

Dr. Ben York, Jr. of Alpine, CA came to the end of his earthly trail and hung up his spurs on Wednesday, October 19, 2011. He was born September 3, 1924 to Ben and Marion Bunnell York in Pleasanton, CA. He graduated from Amador Valley High School and served honorably in the U.S. Army in World War II. He wed Adeline Wright on August 30, 1952 and celebrated 53 anniversaries before her death in 2006. He attended University of California - Davis, where he earned a B.S. and M.S. in Animal Husbandry in 1950, ‘51 and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1955. That year he opened York’s Animal Clinic in Brawley, CA and professionally cared for large and small animals for over 30 years. He retired to Alpine in 1987 and pursued many interests.

A life-long horseman and mule packer, Dr. York was known for being the first American to ride from Mexico to Canada on the 2,638 mile Pacific Crest Trail in one season. He made that trek when he was 68 years old and so enjoyed it that he made it again at 72. A devout Christian, he served as an elder for several Churches of Christ over his lifetime. He was active in many community groups, among them are: California Veterinary Medical Association, Rotary, Pacific Crest Trail Association, Backcountry Horsemen of California, Toastmasters, Los Senderos, Imperial County Sheriff’s Posse and Optimists. He used his skills as a general aviation pilot to fly gravely ill patients to treatments for Angel Flight. He traveled extensively and, while making an around-the-world trip at the age of 80, he suffered a massive stroke in Siberia. Despite the difficulties that resulted, he remained involved in many activities and enjoyed making friends.

Predeceased by his wife and brother, Marshall, he is survived by his dear sister, Barbara Sargent Johnson (Haywood) Manchester, NH; beloved children, Victoria Gabbard (Tom) Charlotte, NC, Valerie Watts (Ed) La Mesa, CA, Ben York III Gilbert, AZ; and precious grandchildren, Matthew and Megan Gabbard, Chelsea and Shelbea York. The family is especially grateful for the compassionate care of Denis Rees, Cristina Leal, Bill McConnell, Dr. Donald Adema and Avalon Hospice staff.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 5 at 11:00 am at La Mesa Church of Christ, 5150 Jackson Drive, La Mesa, CA 91942. Contributions would be welcomed by Pacific Crest Trail Association, La Mesa Church of Christ,, or your favorite charity.

Ben York