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Children International – and sponsored children and families around the world – lost a dear friend and a selfless donor with the passing of Ben Dial on December 8, 2013.
Few people have the privilege of changing as many lives as Ben. His generosity transformed entire communities in Mexico; his sponsorship improved the lives of numerous children and families; and his leadership elevated Children International's commitment to humanitarian work.
"Ben was a phenomenal individual – extremely friendly, interesting, caring and generous," President Jim Cook shared. "His legacy of caring will live on through the support he provided to children around the world and the centers he funded."
Besides sponsoring a total of 10 children since 1998, Ben funded the construction of our very first community center in Zapopan, Mexico, and a third center in Tonalá, Mexico, in honor of his late wife, Jacqueline Byer Dial. He went above and beyond that by contributing to water well installations, housing repairs for sponsored families, and school renovations and construction. He was also an inaugural member of CI's Advisory Council.
A retired telecommunications executive who divided his time between California and Mexico, Ben's desire to build better community centers for sponsored children and families was inspired by his love of carpentry. Having built a home with his bare hands, he was the epitome of hard work and dedication.
"His refreshingly soft-spoken, kind and gentle manner inspired me to get more involved in CI," Board Member Gordon Bailey fondly recalled. "He led by example in both word and deed."
Ben's zeal for life – and his desire to improve the lives of others – stemmed from his extensive travels. He was "an adventurer at heart," says CI's Brian Anderson, and he easily made friends in many of the 100 countries he visited over the course of his life – sometimes lighting out on foot to remote regions, where he would happily spend days with welcoming villagers.
Ben's wife, Lesly, and his other family members have asked that anyone wishing to pay tribute and help carry on Ben's legacy send their donations to Children International. You can contribute by clicking the button below.
We'll miss you, Ben. Your legacy will live on through the lives of the children and families you sponsored and the communities you saved. We're forever grateful.
The JBD Foundation was founded by Ben Dial in honor of his late wife, Jacqueline Byer Dial.