Ben Souza was born in Stevinson CA on July 4th, 1920. He attended Merquin Elementary School until was forced to quit in 1933 due his father’s unexpected death. Young Ben along with his older brother and sister kept the family dairy farm viable. The young people with their immigrant mother’s help, managed to support the young family through the depression. Ben married Sylvia Fernandes in 1943. He was self-educated and, in addition, to being an adept farmer became a skillful mechanic. In the early 1970’s 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 served as Stevinson Pentecost Director, San Joaquin Valley Dairy Co-op Director, Co-Founder of Hatch Milling, Knights of Columbus, lifetime member of the of the Holy Rosary/St. Mary’s Parish. Ben & Sylvia retired in the late 70’s and traveled the United States with Four Seasons Motor Home Club and good friends. He died peacefully at home with his wife nearby. Ben is preceded in death by his father Bento Souza, his mother Carolina Souza, bother 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 one more coming in August.
Memorial donations in Ben Souza’s name can be made to support cutaneous lymphoma research at Stanford University by giving via mail or online. Checks made out to “Stanford University” can be sent to Stanford University Development Services, P.O. 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
Recitation of the Rosary and Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Tuesday, June 21 at 10am at Holy Rosary Catholic Church 8471 Cypress St, Hilmar. Entombment will follow at Turlock Memorial Park.