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Ben Allen Bohnhorst

December 1, 1922 June 28, 2014
Ben Allen Bohnhorst
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Obituary for Ben Allen Bohnhorst

Ben Allen Bohnhorst�educator, poet, founder of the Old Town Poetry Series, former president of the Lansing Poetry Club, professor of education at Michigan State University, humanitarian and friend to many in the Lansing Area�died on Saturday evening, June 28, 2014 at home in the care of his family. He was 91 years old.

Born December 1, 1922 in Springfield, IL, died June 28, 2014 in Hartland, MI at the age of 91. Educator, poet and humanitarian, Ben Allen Bohnhorst was a Professor of Education at Michigan State University and, following retirement in 1986, a poet, serving as president of both the Poetry Society of Michigan and the Lansing Poetry Club and cofounding Lansing�s Old Town Poetry Series. He resided in California, Massachusetts, Georgia, Indiana, and Michigan. Projects through MSU sent him and his family to live for six years in Turkey and also on extensive travel in Europe and the Far East. Ben and his beloved wife Marie of 59 years were active members of the Greater Lansing Unitarian Universalist Church and the Lansing Duplicate Bridge Club, where both earned the ranking of Silver Life Master. His involvement in prison outreach began in Georgia in 1956 and continued in his later life in Michigan. Known as �Baba Ben� to his grandchildren, Dr. Bohnhorst was the son of Wilbur �Pete� Bohnhorst and Grace (Elkin) Bohnhorst. He was a U.S. Army Veteran of World War II and a graduate of Harvard University, where he earned his Ed.D. He taught high school English in Lindale, GA, served as assistant professor of education at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, and in 1960 became program director for Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction (MPATI) at Purdue University. Ben Bohnhorst�s books of poems include four chapbooks, published by Ridgeway Press, and the dual volume Rolling Home: K.K. Paddywhack�s New Songbook and Entering the Valley, XLibris 1999.
He is preceded in death by his brother Don and wife Marie (1923-2002) and is survived by their children, Terry Blackhawk, Mark, Tom, and Julie Bohnhorst, seven grandchildren, two great grandchildren, his sister Alice Blum, and a wide circle of friends, fellow pilgrims and poets. Ben will be remembered as �a graceful and gentle man. Erudite and well-spoken, he brought warmth, patience and good humor to all gatherings in which he participated.� (Ruelaine Stokes, 2014)

A memorial celebration will be held Saturday, August 16, 2014 at the Community Unitarian Universalists in Brighton (CUUB) 3333 S. Old US 23, Brighton MI 48114, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Those desiring may make contributions to InsideOut Literary Arts Project, 5143 Cass Ave., State Hall Room 225, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202 For further information please contact Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors, Brighton, at 810-229-2905 or

Perhaps the best expression of Ben's wisdom and loving heart is contained in one of his poems:

Thanatopsis � A Threnody

When I am lying dying, there
I hope some centered space may be
That's pure and true, and clear and free,

With time to sing some hymns to life.
Who cares for me? I care for you.
Who cares for others. I do too.

Who carries through what's true and free?
Come thou and join my final throng,
For I can trust you�we are strong.

I wish no noise or other sound,
When I am lying dying, done
Beyond the hymns to life we've sung.

In harmony, when I am done,
Please sing some then, and sing, "Amen!"
To all the love that I have been.


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