Two good ones, gone far too early

* Ben Whitney, 41, was born in Frobisher Bay, grew up in Seeley's Bay, yet for his work at Queen's University was known around the world ... while Kevin Siddall, 14, was known throughout western Ontario as an excellent ball player, hockey player and tower of strength. Two good ones, gone far too early. .... 2014 Canadians in College Letters of Intent 2014 Canadian draft list 2013 Canadians in the Minors  2015 Canadian draft list

(This is not really a baseball piece, this is about two trips in two days to two funeral homes. It’s one thing expressing sympathy to people who have lost their loved ones, it’s something else to put the words together. Call it therapy ... for me).

By Bob Elliott

A friend asked recently what was on my schedule for the week.

Two funerals.

“Well, you are at an age when that should be expected,” my pal said.

True, but these were not ordinary trips to funeral homes.

You don’t expect to go to funerals for teenagers.

Or men in their 40s.

I took VIA train and a cab to pay my respects to Windsor’s tough Siddall clan, who lost their brave son, Kevin, 14, to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as our Alexis Brudnicki wrote about earlier.

The next day I took a VIA train to Kingston and my sister, Elizabeth, drove me to a celebration of life for my cousin, Ben Whitney, 41.

(On the train, I bumped into Fred Boimistruck, VIA engineer. When the Montreal train split at Brockville, the former Cornwall Royals and Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman would take controls of the Ottawa-bound train).

Grant Hall at Queen’s University was jammed with Ben’s friends, with his wife, Christie, and sons, Ben, 11, and Ethan, eight, sitting at the front of the hall, which has seen so many graduations, dances and happier times.

Close behind were Ben’s mother, Mary, and her husband, John Barker, as well as Christie’s parents, Jennifer and Bob Gardner.

My grand father Edwin (Chaucer) Elliott was a star football player at Queen's.

My father Bob Elliott starred at football, coached football and is in the Queen's football Hall of Fame.

Daughter Alicia went to Queen's and went for a visit in front of father's picture before exmas (Don Gilbert's idea -- not mine, but it worked).

Me? I drove by Queen's on the way to the ball park.

They were Queen's Men ... as was Ben Whitney. ben and ethan

His sons Ben and Ethan were dressed in Queen’s tricolor sweaters.

They looked like Queen's Men of the future ... and to make sure the two youngsters have the opportunity to follow in their father's footsteps on campus, contributions can be made to the Benjamin & Ethan Whitney Fund at


* * *

I never met Kevin Siddall, but saw his older brother, Brett, play from peewee on up, knew papa Joe, who I first talked to in West Palm Beach when he was a triple-A player with the Montreal Expos about 1993 or 1994.

And I’d seen him coach.

What kind of guy is Joe Siddall?

“We always knew Windsor had good players ... but Joe was the guy who taught us Windsor had good players who were good guys too,” said one veteran of the OBA wars.

I thought I knew cousin Ben, having first met him when he was in diapers.

He didn’t say much, but he giggled a lot.

Ben was a passionate Montreal Expos fan and then through necessity became a passionate Toronto Blue Jays fan.

He’d e-mail questions (intelligent questions, not why not trade Lou Thornton for Sammy Sosa), first about the Expos and then the Jays.

The first one I ever recall began:

“I have a question about my team, what do you think about ...?”

So I replied, “Congrats. I did not know you’d invested in the club, how much are you in for?”

After that, the e-mails would begin ... “I have a question about my team, of which I own .05% through ticket purchases over the years and I feel you should answer since my team has broken 39.2% of my heart.”

But I had no idea who Ben Whitney really was.

While I knew he worked at Queen’s, I had no idea what he did ... something with the business school, maybe?

My mother was a Whitney, her mother was a Clark.

There were dozens of cousins with Whitney blood and Clark blood on hand, successful businessmen, Bob Clark, Major (Retired) Rusty Bassarab and his wife EllenPat Clark, daughter Shillane and Simon, King Whitney, daughter Katie Bonikowsky and her mom Eileen, plus Bert Walsh, former works manager at ALCAN, and Ron Walsh a retired teacher and others leading successful lives.

As the afternoon proceeded, we all learned that young Ben, who grew up in tiny Seeley’s Bay, was known around the world ... from Chile to New Zealand, from London to Hong Kong.

How does one achieve that in 15 years of service?


* * *

Well, a lot had to do with his sense of humour and street smarts.

People wondered where cousin Ben got his sense of humour.

(If he was around, he’d probably say “what sense of humour?”)

It either came from his grandpa Fred or his father Fred.

After attending Paul Smith College, Fred returned to Kingston to work at the Lakeview Manor, which was operated by brothers Steve and Frank Amey.

Steve was a wonderful man and a tremendous booster of amateur sports in Kingston, but when it came to his business he could be a tad hands-on with his staff.

Frank: “Fred, why are you hiding in the freezer?”

Fred: “Hiding from Steve.”

Frank: “Mind if I join you?”

Fred wed Mary Sweet, or sweet Mary Sweet from Sweet’s Corners, as she is known, and they moved to Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island as Fred took a job working at Versafood Services.

That’s where Ben was born in 1972. ben ii

“It was easy to tell which baby was mine,” Fred used to say. “He was the only blondie.”

Danny Roantree told the Grant Hall crowd of one morning ... Ben, then in grade 2, was ill, unable to attend South Crosby Public School in Elgin. But by noon hour he was fine.

So, father Fred drove him to school with the accompanying note:

“Dear Mrs. Shanks,

Ben was ill this morning

Please excuse him from missing school.

Ben had the daieraha .... with a line through the sentence.

Ben had diaerha ... once again scratched out.

Ben had deiareha ... again it had a line through it.

Ben had diaeaha ... with a line through it.

Ah, he had the shits.

His father


A week later, Ben’s mom, Mary, was in the teacher’s room as a supply teacher.

She noticed the teachers gathered around the bulletin board.

“Look at the letter from this dopey parent,” a teacher said to Mary.

Mary took one look and said “that’s my husband ... writing about my son.”

“Well, I hope Ben is feeling better,” said the teacher.

Roantree told of young Ben working at the butcher counter in Sweet’s grocery in Seeley’s Bay.

“There was always a lot of laughter around there,” he said. “Ben would mimic or do impressions of the customers once they were out of ear shot ... or the bosses.”


* * *

Outside Corpus Christi Church in Windsor, ballplayers and hockey players from the Windsor Stars, Windsor Jr. Spitfires, LaSalle Sabres and other teams, stood together with their sticks and bats forming a canopy for more than 1,000 friends and family to pass under.

Some wore lime green, the color of the bands friends wore to support Kevin.

Kevin was remembered as a gifted athlete, competitor and role model.

An inspiration.

“You’re rounding third and you’re finally heading home,” Kevin’s family wrote in a letter read from the podium, according to an excellent piece by Joel Boyce in the Windsor Star.

kevin_pitchBeing part of the tough Siddall clan, young Kevin underwent six chemotherapy protocols, 50 blood transfusions and rarely asked “why did this happen to me?”

He was the youngest of Dr. Tamara Siddall and Joe Siddall’s children.

Brooke, 21, plays goal for the University of Guelph Gryphons hockey team -- which took the team bus to Friday’s visitation -- and coach Rachel Flanagan.

Brett, a former Canadian Junior National Team member, is an outfielder/first baseman for Mike McRae’s Canisius Golden Griffins in Buffalo.

And sister Mackenzie in in grade 12.

Baseball is in the Siddall blood lines.

Joe will return to coaching both the high school and club team that Kevin would have been a member of this spring.


* * *

Jeff Einarson was a constant travelling companion of Ben’s on road trips to ball games. They were roomies at Queen’s. They travelled together to Cooperstown and Ben fared better in the batting cages, but Einarson said he would usually beat Ben at Wayne Gretzky table hockey.

Eventually, Einarson was invited for dinner at Seeley’s Bay. He had met Ben’s parents, Fred and Mary.

“Ben also kept talking about ‘Dirt’ who I thought was a pet,” Einarson said, “but it turned out that’s what he called his grandmother Janet, because in his words, that’s how old she was.

Janet had a TV in her room to watch her teams, usually with her hearing aides out.

When it was dinner time, Fred would pick up a bugle and blow it ... moments later, Janet would walk down the hall on her walker giving her son the business, as Wally Cleaver might say.

Ben had his grandmother’s passion for sports.

“If his team got behind early, he got go into a rant,” said Einarson.

Einarson was part of the inner circle being invited for Fred’s weekly winding of the clocks ceremony, as my family has been. Fred had a number of ships clocks in his house, but they had to be wound and it was a dramatic ceremony missing only trumpets and the releasing of the doves.

Ben’s sons Benjamin and Ethan were told by Einarson about the time their parents took them to a petting zoo and a pony “bit your dad under his arm.”

“He swore he was going to go back when the pony was a full-grown horse and make it carry him around.” Einarson said. “I don’t know to this day if he thought ponies grow up to be horses, but either way that story made us laugh.”

Cousin Bob Clark asked Ben he wanted to work for the summer on his highly-successful St. Lawrence Cruise Lines. Fred was the head chef. Ben was below deck folding and ironing sheets. Einarson, who grew up a few doors down from the Clark and Whitney households on Mack Street, was the bartender. Einarson and Julie and Ben hung together.

Julie was working in human resources at Queen’s when they had an opening for a telephone receptionist. Ben was working at a Future Shop selling iPods. He had a broadcasting background and got the job.

“Ben grew his own career,” said Clark.

How special a man was Ben Whitney? Einarson had an example. His daughter was set to get braces and Einarson’s wife Julie emailed a few people asking if they could send a line of encouragement to help the eight-year-old get over her fears. Ben wrote:


Dear Claudia,

A little birdie told me that you are getting braces today. (No, wasn’t your dad. He is not a “little birdie”. He might be Big Bird, though!)  I bet you can guess who did tell me! (Hint: she loves you whole bunches!!)

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a boy whose top jaw extended over his bottom jaw. The result of this was that he looked a little like Bugs Bunny. Also, he had a big space between his two front teeth which was wide enough to drive a transport truck through. So, he went to see an orthodontist (kind of like a dentist, but with fancier equipment). The orthodontist gave the boy lots of appliances – no, not like a microwave oven or washer & dryer – to wear in his mouth to help correct these small problems.

The boy wasn’t too happy about wearing them at first, but as time went on, that gap in his front teeth started to close. Instead of being able to drive a transport truck through there, now you could only drive a bicycle.

Then, after a few more months, you couldn’t even see daylight between those teeth! And remember how I said he looked a bit like Bugs Bunny? Well, that changed too. In fact, people started to tell the boy how he had “perfect teeth”!

Being the super-smart person you are, I bet you’ve already figured out who the little boy was, haven’t you?  (You’re right – he’s me!)

Now if only that orthodontist had an appliance to help me get my hair back ... and yes, I would even wear a washer & dryer if it would help bring my hair back.

Oh yes, one other thing: there was one other person you know of who wore braces when she was younger:  Emma Watson, the actress who played Hermione in the Harry Potter movies.

If Hermione can do it, then so can you!

Bye for now,



* * *

Associate dean Dr. Salman Mufti spoke of the first time he heard Ben talking on the phone.

“I walked upstairs, asked who that was and said we had to promote him,” Mufti told the audience.

Once, at a conference, the sound system broke underneath the podium. While an engineer was called, Ben didn’t wait. He crawled underneath the podium and fixed the problem himself.

That was the good news and the conference continued.

The bad news? Ben was stuck and had to be hauled out.

No job was too big.

No job was too small.

Mufti had lured cousin Ben back to executive education as executive education as director of strategy and research, his new job beginning Jan. 1.


* * *

Angela James, who worked with cousin Ben in Centre for International Management for seven years, told of a colleague saying workers were all somewhat surprised to hear that others had a special connection to Ben.

“We sort of felt cheated on,” said James, “but then we really didn’t care, because it was Ben.”

Ben stole her cell phone, pocket dialed her, changed her home page, prank called her with unique accents or tried to scare her ... as he stole the cell phone, pocket dialed, changed home pages, prank called with a strange accents or tried to scare any of the other office workers by hiding behind coat racks.

James spoke eloquently about Ben’s love of his family, Star Wars, Star Trek and the Simpson’s.

Ben honed this skills working on the cruise ship and the executive education team. He continued to share this skill with others.

“Day in and day out, Ben would walk the talk about the importance of his family, share funny stories, proud moments,” James said. “We all knew that the second Christie or the boys needed Ben that is where he would be, with them.”

James told a story of how Ben received a call from a colleague telling him that her car had broken down and that she was would be late for work. As her manager at the time, Ben didn’t reply with the typically “okay, get here when you can.” He drove all the way to Gananoque, so he could get on the west bound lane of the 401 to be there with her when the tow truck arrived and drive her to the school.

Ben’s professional personality could transfer across cultures. James said the Asian way of greeting was up his alley, whereas the double or triple kiss from European and Latin counterparts, was “too touchy feely for his comfort zone, but he still did it.”

At a recent conference in St. Louis, Ben attended two Cardinals games and had a “Ben moment” as a meeting with a potential partner school from Chile ended. Ben removed his shoes off to give his feet some relief. As the meeting concluded, Ben slyly leaned down, almost kissing the table, to discretely put on his shoes.

“As we all stood to do the double kiss good-byes, we started to move away from the table only to realize that the table cloth was moving with us,” said James. “Ben had managed to stuff the table cloth into his shoe and everything on the table was coming with us.”

James said cousin Ben’s legacy is: “work hard, keep the humour in each and every day and more than anything, love your family.”

“You will never be forgotten my friend,” James said. “And at moments like these, Ben would be able to turn our tears into laughter.”


* * *

Coach Joe Siddall’s Windsor minor bantams were in Amherstburg last August when Kevin chugged into third with a lead-off triple. He was out of breath when he arrived, and still out of breath when the inning ended, after two lengthy multi-pitch at-bats.

The next night, at Riverside, Joe told Kevin he was pitching.

Kevin declined, saying he didn’t feel like pitching an inning.

“That’s when I knew something was really wrong,” said Joe. “If he hadn’t had a heck of a game, hit the triple and been out of breath, I wouldn’t have asked questions.”

Doctors thought Kevin had the croup as he was having difficulty swallowing. A few days later, X-rays revealed he had a mass in his chest. Off to London the family went to the Teen Health Centre.

Kevin was in the critical care unit, and chemotherapy began immediately to shrink the mass. One blood transfusion was followed by another.

A tube was needed to aid his breathing for five days. Kevin had to have fluid drained from his lungs and was poked again to have fluid removed from near his heart. The family took turns sleeping in the hospital room.

A Windsor Star story on Kevin needing blood was a success at the Canadian Blood Services Thanksgiving drive.

At the end of September, the Siddalls returned to Windsor, but pain arrived in Kevin’s ear. He had blood work done in Windsor and then the Siddalls went to London. The oncologist wasn’t happy with the progress and suggested a move to Toronto.


* * *

Jen McNeely worked seven years in the Centre for International Management with cousin Ben, sharing tears, laughter and jokes.

“Laughter may have been crazy You tube videos Ben felt needed to be shared, or how every morning he forgot he was listening to music on his computer the night before at home and turning his computer on in the morning, he’d have choice words or scream due to the Windows start chimes being so loud,” McNeely said.

During Ben’s time at QSB, he helped recruit 749 degree students, who either received their MBA or Master of International Business degrees from QSB. His exposure to 1,667 exchange students either going abroad to an international partner or coming to Canada made a global impact.

“Ben was proud of Queen’s, proud of the Queen’s School of Business, his pride shined through into his work and it can be easily said the programs in which Ben worked can attribute their success to Ben,” said McNeely. “Ben was so influential to family and friends, however, he had a global presence that was astounding.”

McNeely said when she sent out the message about Ben on Jan. 25th to the two classes, instantly she received phone calls, e-mails and Facebook messages.

Ben’s colleague shared with Christie, Benjamin, Ethan, and other family members some messages that were received from around the world.


From an exchange student from Dublin Ireland ...

To the Whitney Family,

I was extremely sorry to hear of Ben’s recent passing, and please accept my sincere condolences at this very difficult time. I know you don’t know me, but know that there were many people all over the world who were touched by Ben’s kindness, good nature, and outrageous sense of humour, and he will be sorely missed.

I was at Queen’s School of Business in late 2008 and early 2009 and somehow I managed to pass all my exams. If I am being honest, I must surely attribute this minor success (or rather major in my eyes!) to the very close-knit team in which Ben worked. I was like a fish out of water in Canada, and they guided me with professionalism, care and attention. He and his colleagues took me to the famous Stooley’s restaurant, and advised me on the trivial and the serious, and all in all helped to make that year the best of my life.

I don’t really know how to end this note, except to say that I, like many others, were privileged to have met Ben. Every Christmas, we shared some stories, and I will miss that greatly, but I will know that he will be looking down on us, wishing only the best, with his big smile and outrageous sense of humour.

Best personal wishes,

Alex Hamilton.

Trinity College



From a current student studying in Spain ...

The impact of Ben’s tireless work ethic and unwavering dedication to helping the students and faculty at Queen’s realize their goals and dreams is truly unmeasurable. As a MIB student, I have been so thankful for the pivotal role that Ben has played in being such a strong advocate in bringing such a progressive degree and learning concept to Queen’s. The program played an important role in the personal and professional development of many students -- and much of this stems from Ben’s passion for helping others and inspiring them to achieve their best. For the countless contributions Ben has made to the QSB community: thank you. Your presence and warm spirit will always be remembered.


Anna Jung


Another current student ...

He was our program director, he was a friend and he was like a brother to some. For me, he was more than that, he was the first man I met at Queen’s school of business, I remember walking in his office for my first interview for grad school, I also remember his comment about my red tie with of course the biggest smile ever. I still remember every little detail about this great man. He was the reason behind my successful journey at Queen’s in the past and in the future wherever I go I will remember this great man.

I will remember the cab ride he took for me so we didn’t walk out in the cold and the laughs we had after sharing few stories as if I knew him for years. He truly was a man of his own destiny. I cannot even begin to describe all what he has been to us as students, the loss, the sadness, the love, the hole in our heart. He always did things to the best of his ability, with a passion and enthusiasm beyond most people’s comprehension. Ben was exceptionally dedicated, mastering anything he turned his hand or mind to always pressing us to give our best because he believed in us.

You’ve really left us with grief and misbelief and we will forever cherish you. We will really miss your smiles and jokes whenever we had you around. In physical body we depart but in our heart you will live forever. Rest In Peace Ben Whitney. My deepest condolence to his family and the QSB community. You will be greatly missed

A very sad, shocked but inspired MIB student

Nabel Bendago

MIB 2014


* * *

Class president Manuel El-Sayed praised Ben as a friend and told of a trip to Toronto. manuel

“Ben arranged for tickets to see the Maple Leafs play,” said El-Sayed. “I asked him many questions about what to expect. Ben told me that I would have a good time ... but if I really wanted to see good hockey I would have to go to Ottawa to see the Senators play.”

A student asked Ben once about what guarantees he would have landing a job when he finished his degree.

“Ben said, 'you’re so smart, if you don’t get a job you can come back and take mine,'” said El-Sayed.

El-Sayed told of attending a weekend gathering of buisness students and how one of the 130 in the program asked cousin Ben what his name was.

“That bothered him for days, that one person ... one of 130 didn’t know his name,” said El-Sayed.


* * *

How on earth is it fair that a young man does not make his 15th birthday?

That he’s so ill he never gets to step through the door of his high school?

I don’t pretend to know.

We can only keep the tough-as-nails Siddall clan in our thoughts these tough times.

Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski made the drive over from Comerica Park for the visitation. Joe still throws batting practice for his home town team. Former manager Jim Leyland called to express his sympathies. Hall of Famer Al Kaline sent flowers.

Joe played at Mic Mac Park in Windsor, and was signed as a free agent in 1987 before Canadian high schoolers were included in the draft. He spent parts of 13 seasons in the minors from Jamestown to Pawtucket in the Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins, Boston Red Sox and Tigers systems. He caught 73 games in four seasons in the majors with the Expos, Marlins and the Tigers.

Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and assistant hitting coach Toby Harrah told Joe Kevin comes first after the initial diagnosis in August.

The Tigers sent an autographed jersey signed by every player with Kevin’s name on the back and the No. 1.

Kevin captured the hearts of a city’s sporting community.

“He’s the smartest and most athletic person we ever met, he could try something new and still be the best at it.” -- A friend wrote.

“Strength lives in the name Siddall” -- read one twitter post, many had the hashtag #FFK (Fight For Kevin).

“The Siddall family is the strongest family I have ever met and the support for Kevin is amazing.”

“He will always be an inspiration to everyone.” -- A friend.

“What amazed us the most was his ability to focus on others rather than himself,” said the letter from Kevin’s family. “He touched the lives of many.”


* * *

David Saunders, Dean of Queen’s School of Business, spoke last.

“I’m not that exciting a guy, I’m not really someone you could do an impression of,” said Saunders. “Little did I know.”

And then a video rolled of Ben impersonating Saunders explaining to the film crew about his upcoming business strategy and then he took the camera over to a table to see his “global strategy.”

“I was thinking of taking over Greenland,” said Saunders, er Ben, as he showed the board game Risk. “But now I changing my mind to Madagascar.”

* * *

Ben would have been humbled at the large gathering of friends.

The kind words.

The flags at half mast all over the campus.

Throughout his 15-year career with Queen’s, Ben worked closely with staff, faculty and students in many areas of the business school, including leadership roles with Queen’s full-time MBA and more recently the Master of International Business program. In early January, Ben joined Queen’s Executive Education as the Director of Strategy and Research.

Originally trained in broadcast journalism, Ben went on to earn a degree in Political Science from Queen’s (BAH’95) and joined the university as a staff member in 1999.


* * *

Mary has remarried John Barker (her husband Fred has been gone for 10 years).

And somewhere up there they are together again.

Fred’s bugle isn’t needed because Janet can hear again, but he still plays it.

Grandma Janet, who passed in 2009, and husband Fred, son Fred and grandson Ben are sitting down to watch Canada play.

And as soon as the Olympics are over, tryouts begin.

I hope my father has the 15-year-old group to coach ... there is a stud named Kevin Siddall headed his way.

As Rev. John Pirt said inside Corpus Christi Church: “We’re not here because Kevin died. We’re here this morning because Kevin has lived and continues to live.”


* * *

One youngster, 14.

One young man, 41.

One touched a city’s athletes and unified the sporting community.

The other was known around the world ... if you look at the letters of sympathy:


On behalf of London Business School I would like to send my condolences to you and the Queen’s community. We are truly shocked to hear of Ben’s passing and are thinking of Queen’s and his family at this difficult time. We have had the great pleasure of working with Ben as part of the MiM Friends project and he will truly be missed.

Jamie Wright London Business School UK


He was the sweetest and most incredible person we ever met.  Please accept our most profound condolences. Our hearts are  with you! Your friends and colleagues from HEC Montreal

Jacqueline Lemay HEC, Montreal Canada

We are so sorry to hear about the loss of Ben, to his family and to you his colleagues. It is good and right to celebrate him where he touched so many lives – at his work. We send our deepest sympathy.

Robin Jensen (Ms.) Graduate School of Management St. Petersburg University (Russia)

It is with great shock and sadness that we received the news about Ben. On behalf of us all at Aston Business School I should like to pay tribute to Ben’s collegiality and professionalism. I shall never forget the kindness he showed me during my visit to Queen’s. He will be greatly missed by his many friends throughout the world. Our thoughts are with you and his family.

Matthew Dr Matthew Hall Aston Business School Birmingham, UK

As you know, it was wonderful working with Ben, whom I would unhesitatingly characterize as a “gentle giant”. We shared many laughs and had some great discussions, and my lasting memory of him will be the great time we had at the St. Louis NAFSA last year. Dr. Jim Lee Australia

Thank you very much for your message although I regret so much to hear those bad news about Ben Whitney. I had the pleasure of meeting him during his visit to Carlos III and I really sorry to read that he recently passed away. Please, extend our sincere condolences to the rest of your team and also his family. All the best,

Dr. David Gil Pérez Universidad Carlos III Madrid Spain

My thoughts are with you and I am sending my deepest sympathy to staff and students at Queen’s and of course to his family. Ben was a delight and an absolute pleasure to work with and he will live on in the hearts and minds of those who had the privilege to get to know him, if only too briefly.

Elsa Zenatti-Daniels Aston UK

I cannot find the words to say how saddened we are to hear of the loss of Ben. I had the opportunity to meet him in France, at EAIE Nantes and it was a pleasure to discuss with him and to work with him, always very friendly, and an excellent colleague. From EMLYON we really want to express our sadness!

Sonia Campillo France

We are saddened to hear the news about Ben. We enjoyed our cooperation with him and even had the pleasure to meet him at Nafsa two years ago. He seemed like a lovely man and his untimely death comes as a shock. Our deepest sympathy.   We wish you all the strength during these difficult times.

Lieve Smets KULeuven Belgium

We are all deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic news you share. There are no words that can express our feelings. It was always a great pleasure to meet with Ben and talk to him about professional and private matters. We hope he knew what a wonderful person he was. We will store him in our hearts. Our thoughts are with Ben’s family and with you.

Yvonne, Jenny, Stefanie University of Mannheim Germany

We are shocked and sad, since we have come to know Ben as a wonderful colleague with an heart-warming behavior. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and we send our condolences to them at this difficult time.

Thirawut Sutabut Chulalongkorn University Thailand

It is a shock, and I shall remember Ben with his smile and kindness, always a very friendly and professional attitude . Please convey to his family how sad we are, all  around the world. .. Josiane O’Brien ESCP Europe France

Please accept my heartfelt sympathies for the loss of Ben. My thoughts go of course to his family and his colleagues. I very much appreciated his great sense of humour, positive attitude and professionalism, this is an awful, sudden and tragic loss. He will be remembered.

Amanda Peaker Pouydebasque Grenoble Ecole de Management France

Ben was an extraordinary colleague and our thoughts are with all of you at Queen’s - and especially with his family, whom we wish all the strength they need to cope with this terrible loss.

Lukas Hefner Austria

I am very shocked and very, very sad to hear that Ben has passed away. My heart and thoughts reach out to his family and to all of you who had the pleasure of being his close colleagues. I know that this must be difficult times for all of you. I remember Ben as kind, fun and very competent and I will miss meeting him at conferences.

A big hug to all of you. Mette Kloch Denmark

Ben was the first international colleague I personally had the chance to exchange with when I joined GEM & he really proved to be as nice as one could be, easy going, committed & generous... Our thoughts are with him, with you all his friends & colleagues & deeply with his wife & sons. Joelle Silvestre Grenbole Ecole de Management France

It was with great sadness we received the news of Ben. Many of us have had the pleasure of knowing Ben and we will always remember him for his great humor and professionalism in his work.

Eline B. Jensrud Norway

Just a brief note in this overwhelming period for you to let you know that we are thinking of you and your colleagues. We were very shocked to read the news about Ben, could not believe it at first and do not want to believe it now, although it is the sad reality. Elena and I have fond memories of him from the few times we met at conferences and will never forget.

Annemarie van Vliet The Netherlands

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I met Ben at a NAFSA conference in 2012, and this is actually the start of the collaboration between Queen’s and Solvay. I will always remember him as a dynamic, friendly, smiling and positive person. My thoughts are with his family.

Tamara Schuller Solvay Brussels School of Economics & Management Belgium

I have been very recently in contact with Ben , he was so happy about the change of his position! And he really deserved it. It must be horrible for you all. My deepest thoughts go to all our friends at Queens and Ben’s family.

Iris Ritter HEC, Paris France

I am really sorry about it. They are very sad news both for me personally and for the rest of Navarra’s team. I had the honour to share very nice moments with Ben and I will keep them with me for ever. All our support for you and your colleagues.

Maria del Carmen Bielza Galindo Universidad de Navarra Spain

I had met Ben on several occasions at NAFSA, and I will remember him as a really nice colleague. Please convey my sincere condolences on to his wife and sons and to everybody at Queen’s.

Annie Rouen Business School France

It was a great shock to read of the sudden death of our colleague Ben. Corinne Garcia  from Toulouse business school is visiting  us and we are remembering time that we all were together at different conference of NAFSA  and others with Ben. Please  accept our  deepest sympathy from members  of  the International office in Ljubljana.

Danijela Voljc University of Ljubljana Slovenia

We are very shocked to hear of the passing of Ben. We would like to assure you that our deep sympathies are with you and the whole team at QSB in this said loss and to let you know that our thoughts are with you. I fondly remember the lunch we shared together in Vancouver to celebrate our new partnership. He was such a gentlemen.

Katharina Korsunsky University of Zurich Switzerland

Ben will be remain in my memory as the always smiling and friendly guy, remembering so well our laughs in St. Louis! We will all miss him!

Ellen Tobiasson BI Olso Norway

We were saddened and shocked to hear about Ben. We had the pleasure of working with him on several occasions and he was always very cheerful and a true professional.

Our thoughts are with all of you and his family. Warmest regards, Tracey, Jenny and Véronique ESSEC Business School France

I am shocked and saddened to hear of Ben’s passing. I would like to  convey my warmest thoughts and deepest sympathy to his wife, children and colleagues. I have fond memories of our dear colleague who always greeted me with warmth and kindness. It is such a tragedy to lose Ben so prematurely. Ben was truly appreciated and working with him was a pleasure. He really made all my colleagues and myself feel as we belonged to his warm and friendly family! It has been a privilege working with him and I am happy to have known him.

Agneta Hedberg Lund University, School of Economics & Management Sweden

This is truly shocking and deeply sad news. Ben was an amazing person, kind, thoughtful and with a lovely sense of humour. He will be missed by all his friends and colleagues at Aston. Our thoughts go to his family and friends.

Selena Teeling Aston Business School UK

On behalf of our University and the Student Mobility staff, I am expressing you and your team our sincere condolences. It’s difficult to loose a staff member and friend! I am still remembering meeting Ben at Nafsa in St.Louis last year. He was such a nice and friendly person! Our thoughts are with his family, you and the entire team!

Nicole Gsell Universitat St. Gallen Switzerland

It is with great sadness and profound sorrow that we acknowledge the death of our colleague and friend Ben. On behalf of the Bocconi team, please accept our most heartfelt sympathies for this tragic loss. Our thoughts are with our friends at Queen’s and Ben’s family. Count on our support to handle our students’ requests during this difficult time.

Laura Candotti Universita Bocconi Italy

It was with real sadness that I read your e-mail and learnt of the passing of Ben. I have very found memories of Ben and always found him to be great company as someone with a very engaging personality. I especially remember a trip from Kingston to Ottawa ( I had been visiting Queen’s and we were flying from there to NAFSA in Vancouver) in which Ben offered to take Jenny Corlett and myself in his car. There were a lot of laughs  and the three of us had a great time. My thoughts and prayers are with you, the rest of the team and the University.

Jason Cushen University of Otago New Zealnd

On behalf of colleagues here at the University of Melbourne, please do accept our most sincere condolences for the sad passing of Ben this past weekend. Having met with Ben on a number of occasions over past NAFSA conferences, I was always impressed by his commitment to the University and School, and his passion for international education experiences for students. Our thoughts are with colleagues at QSB and Ben’s family at this time.

Kind regards, Nigel Cossar University of Melbourne Australia

I am so, so sad to hear this – we have lost a true gentleman. I will always remember his steady presence at conferences and quick smile! Our thoughts are with his family, you and the Queens community,

Kate Smart University of Sydney Australia


Our condolences to hear about this message. May his family and children be comforted by the love and support of the community. Ben, was a truly professional with whom we all enjoyed working with.

Wendy Cheung Hong Kong University of Science & Technology Hong Kong