Ben Souza was born in Stevinson CA on July 4, 1920. He attended Merquin Elementary School until he was forced to quit in 1933 due to the unexpected death of his father. Young Ben, along with his older brother and sister, kept the family dairy farm viable. The young people, with the help of their immigrant mother, managed to support the young family during the depression. Ben married Sylvia Fernandes in 1943. He was self-taught and besides being a skilled farmer he became a skilled mechanic. In the early 1970s, Ben and Sylvia left the successful Souza brothers to venture out on their own. As had been the case with his brother, Ben and Sylvia continued to thrive in the dairy business. He was a wonderful father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather. Ben was director of Stevinson Pentecost, director of San Joaquin Valley Dairy Cooperative, co-founder of Hatch Milling, Knights of Columbus, life member of Holy Rosary/St. Mary parish. Ben and Sylvia retired in the late 70s and traveled around the United States with the Four Seasons Motor Home Club and good friends. He died peacefully at home with his wife nearby. Ben is predeceased by his father Bento Souza, his mother Carolina Souza, brother Arnold Souza, 3 sisters, Velma Souza, Caroline Fernandes and Mary Brazil. He is survived by his wife of 78 years Sylvia Souza; his three daughters Loretta Serpa (Dennis), Phyllis Cretsinger and S. Doris Souza (Carmen). six grandchildren Karyn Alamo (Tony), Dennis Serpa Jr. (Michele), Shaun Cretsinger (Betsy), Traci Thoming (David), Juliann Cretsinger (Pam) and Christine Serpa; his 11 great-grandchildren Anthony Alamo, Nicole Vessel, Dennis Serpa III, Kristin Rollin, Justin Serpa, Jared Alamo Thies Thoming, Trista Thoming, Ty Thoming, Logan Neugebauer, Levi Neugebauer, Kai Cretsinger and Sophia Cretsinger. And finally, his 4 great-great-grandchildren Theron Vessel, Emersyn Rollin, Noelle Vessel, Aubrey Alamo and another to come in August.
Memorial donations in Ben Souza’s name may be made to support cutaneous lymphoma research at Stanford University by making donations by mail or online. Checks payable to “Stanford University” can be sent to Stanford University Development Services, PO Box 20466, Stanford, CA 94309-0466. Please include “In memory of Ben Souza for the Cutaneous Lymphoma Research Fund (HAFSE)” on the check. Or online at https://stanford.io/3mUANYO
The Rosary and Christian Burial Mass will take place on Tuesday June 21 at 10am at Holy Rosary Catholic Church 8471 Cypress St, Hilmar. Entombment will follow at Turlock Memorial Park.