Ben Ray Hopkins was born November 4, 1919, in Richland Springs, Texas. He passed away in the Long Beach VA Hospital on July 3, 2010, surrounded by loving friends and family.
He was married on December 9, 1942, to Jo Anne Pelton, who passed away November 23, 1990. He joined the Army Air Corps and flew a B17 bomber. After being shot down over Germany in April 1943, he spent more than two years as a Prisoner of War in Stalag Luft III and received a Purple Heart in recognition for his injuries. He attended Clemson College in South Carolina for two years before transferring to the University of Southern California, where he received a B.S. Degree in Civil Engineering in 1950. Ben was a licensed Civil, Structural, and Mechanical engineer and General Contractor in many states, and was well recognized as an expert in design and construction of towers, oil drilling equipment, and materials handling.
After working in an engineering job at Dresser-Ideco, a manufacturer of oil derricks and radio towers, he joined Clarence Thomas as a partner in 1955 to form Thomas & Hopkins, Professional Engineers, continuing the business after Mr. Thomas’ death in 1968. Ben also founded Tower Structures, Inc., a tower manufacturing and construction company, retiring in 1990. In 1993 he returned to Richland Springs, and was married to La Verta Adams Brent, who passed away on May 10, 2005. Ben gradually lost the use of his legs due to injuries suffered in WWII. He lived the last three years of his life in Orange, California, with his daughter, Lynda Armbruster, son-in-law, Tom Armbruster and grandson, Edward Kennedy. He is survived by daughters, Lynda and Pamela DelaCerda; sons, Steven Hopkins and Ronald Hopkins; grandsons, Edward Kennedy, Ronnie Hopkins, and Sean DelaCerda; daughter-in-law, Claire Hopkins and two great-granddaughters, Lucille Hopkins and Barbara Hopkins.
Funeral services will be held in Richland Springs, Texas, on July 17, 2010 at 9:00 AM.
In lieu of flowers Ben requested that donations be made to one of the following: California Paralyzed Veterans of America 5901 E. 7th St., Long Beach, California 90822.