Benjamin Vaughn Cordell (self-proclaimed Ryan Gosling/Jared Goff lookalike), aged 24, left this world suddenly on August 19, 2020 to join his four grandparents and his beloved childhood wiener dog, Bonnie. He is survived by his parents, Jennifer and Vaughn; his older sister Bethany; his older brother Duncan; his younger sister Belle; his best friends Hayden Binde and Josh Hunsaker; dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends; and his dog Dexter. On a day that Ben should have been sitting on a quiet fishing boat with Dad, I’m sitting here writing about his life in the past tense. Thank you for taking the time to read this and celebrate the life of the world’s best Beer Pong player with us.
From the moment Ben came into this world at nearly 11 pounds (Mom told me to specify that it was a c-section), the entire universe revolved around his magnetic personality. As soon as he could open his bright blue eyes, that mischievous twinkle captivated each and every one of us.
Ben did everything right to solidify his place as Mom’s favorite from the beginning. He’d pick wildflowers each weekend for her- as many as he could fit in his chubby little fist- not with the sole motivation to make Mom smile, but also to look his brother and sisters in the eye, reminding us without words that we weren’t him. Occasionally he’d push it a little too far with his siblings and be forced to sit on the couch holding their hands… perhaps once from the infamous ‘accidental’ release of his entire ant farm inside the house. Who knows.
Benny was also a founding member of the BS Club (Brother-Sister Club… met weekly in the backyard shed), and the dutiful secretary of said organization. He took terrible notes, and Duncan was an even worse vice president, but their love for their type-A sister led them to spend many hours in meetings/playing school/playing church/playing anything where she got to be in charge.
Ben may or may not hold the current record for most skipped classes at Helena High. When Dad called the office on his very last day of high school to ‘excuse’ him from his final period, the sweet little secretary on the phone gently joked: “I’m going to miss that kid- he’s got a heart of gold- but we’re going to have to lay one of us off now that we won’t have to keep up with him.”
There is no shortage of Ben stories to tell, and the last few days at the Cordell house have been a testament to that. His cousin Keifer spoke of the time Ben was the only one to answer his call the night of a painful breakup and said to him “sweet dude, this weekend is double points weekend on Runescape! More time to play!” In fact, that has been a frequent theme woven through all of the stories… how Ben was always the one there for you.
He lived to torment his sisters- particularly Belle. From forcing her to play ‘jail’ when they were little (he played the sleepy guard that always seemed to wake up just as she was sprinting past) to being adults together, and looking her up and down anytime they went out with an eye brow raised: “did Dad REALLY let you leave the house like that?” The stack of golf score cards in Belle’s car is more proof of the true nature of their relationship… a different nickname on each one, absolutely none of which we can print here.
Ben spent the final few years of life just as he started… in lockstep with his brother, Duncan. They moved into a beautiful house together earlier this year, frequented their favorite breweries, and stayed up until all hours of the night playing video games. You’d hardly see one without the other, and their relationship can be perfectly summed up in Ben’s last text to Duncan… “you owe me a pack of lunch meat, dude.”
We’d ask you all to remember Ben the way we will… claiming shotgun in your car, stealing the music cord to play one of his ‘bangers,’ and looking to his left at you with that famous twinkle in his eye, grinning ear to ear, saying… “let’s go, baby!”
In lieu of flowers, please pay someone’s open bar tab in Ben’s name.