Benjamin J. Baltrukovicz of Hardyston, N.J., passed away on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, at home with his family beside him. He was 79.
He was born in Frenchtown, N.J., to Sophie (Priliszh) and Benjamin Baltrukovicz.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Betty (Cunningham); his loving children, Elizabeth and her husband, Robert Koeppe Jr. of Andover Township, N.J., James and his wife, Anna Christine, of Mukilteo, Wash., and Susan and her husband, Todd Robida, of Cleveland, Ohio; his adored grandchildren, Blaine, Chloe, Anna-Renee, and Alexander; sisters, Malvina, Jennie, and Patricia; many nieces and nephews; and his beloved canine companion, Bella.
Ben studied mechanical engineering at Newark College of Engineering, now NJIT, while working for International Nickel in Sterling Forest, N.Y., where he attained several patents in the metallurgical field. He retired from his position as business center manager with Howmet, Alloy Division in Dover, N.J., in 1997. Ben was active with the Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, N.J., and regularly volunteered with Betty in many events, and was head of the Finance Committee.
He was glad to support many of his children’s pursuits, chaperoning his son’s scout troop activities and many weekend camp-outs, working the snack-bar at the West Milford Township High School football games, and serving as president of the WMTHS Band Parents. In his spare time, Ben made furniture for the family home, built several additions on the house single-handedly, and was always ready to help a neighbor with a home project. Ben’s favorite times were with his family and friends, and he delighted in raising his children and instilling in them continued curiosity, independent spirit and a love of the outdoors. He enjoyed teaching his children science and math at the dinner table. whether they wanted to or not.
Ben organized many family camping trips with precision (everyone will be in the car at 4:30 a.m. sharp!) throughout the U.S. and was thrilled to drive the family for a one-month trip to camp at the base of the Tetons, hike the Black Hills of South Dakota, and witness Old Faithful at Yellowstone. Ben took the family sailing at lakes throughout the Northeast, taught his kids to swim in the neighborhood river, and baked excellent homemade apple pies and pizza. He was an avid Elvis fan, and perhaps one of the only fans of The Limeliters. Following his retirement, Ben and Betty relocated to Indiana and Florida and continued to travel, spend time with family and friends, and meet new friends along the way.
In consideration of the current COVID-19 restrictions, the family celebrated Ben with a private event. Ben’s family wishes to thank Matilde, Karen, Bonnie, and many other caregivers for their amazing compassion, careful care and support. Memorial donations may be made to Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice, 99 Sparta Avenue, Newton, NJ 07860 (karenannquinlanhospice.org).