Benjamin Michael Dorn, 64
Benjamin “Ben” Michael Dorn, 64, of Athol, Idaho, died on Aug. 23, 2018, at Kootenai Health, surrounded by his family and loved ones.
Born on July 31, 1954, in Bloomington, Ill., to William “Bill” and Sue Ann (Shepherd) Dorn, he moved to Idaho with his parents and two older brothers as a young boy.
Ben described his childhood as idyllic, living on a ranch on the north side of Hayden Lake. Ben was known by many as a hard worker; he started young, operating machinery for neighboring farmers and later becoming a logger and heavy equipment operator. The family moved around the area, from Hayden to Sandpoint and back again, but they loved North Idaho.
In his youth, Ben enjoyed skiing, hunting, fishing, playing his drum set, spending time with his brothers and being active in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. He was especially close with his brother Joseph, who passed away in 1981. The brothers bought neighboring properties on the north side of Hayden Lake, near their childhood home.
It was there that Ben began constructing his first log home in 1981, teaching himself as he went. He went on to found Clearwater Log Homes in Hayden, Idaho, and ran it successfully for 23 years. He later was able to pass on all his hard-earned building knowledge to his son.
He was married in 1985 and had two children, Melissa and Robert, with his first wife Alice.
Ben met his current wife Kathy (Caldwell) in 1999 and they married in Reno, Nev., in 2005. They founded Broken Arrow Elk Ranch in 2001 to provide a hunt of a lifetime to disabled hunters, in honor of his father, Bill, who passed away in 1999. Ben’s father suffered a spinal cord injury in 1973, and Ben played a significant role in caring for his father.
Ben had a great love for animals — a love that was passed on to his children. He had a special affinity for German shepherd dogs, especially his son’s dog Hauns, who would stay with his Grandpa while Robert was in Alaska.
Ben’s grandson, Malakai, was born in 2012 to his daughter, Melissa; he was overjoyed at being a grandpa. He loved sitting in the loader or crane with his grandson to show him how they worked. He never missed an opportunity to play, watch cartoons or read a story.
Ben retired from active ranching in 2015, but still enjoyed helping his brother repair machines, doing projects around his ranch and riding his Harley Davidson to Priest Lake, where he dreamed of officially spending his retirement on a fishing boat.
Ben was getting ready to leave on a final fishing trip at his son’s Alaska home with his brother, Billy, when he had a severe stroke.
Ben was well loved and will be missed dearly by his family and friends. He had a big heart, a great sense of humor and loved telling stories.
He is survived by his wife, Kathy; his daughter, Melissa; his son, Robert (Tanya Hester); his brother, William Jr.; his grandson, Malakai; his nephews, Ben, Joe, Jacob and Mike; and his nieces, Billijo, April, Jenna and Jessica.
Ben was a firm believer in Jesus, and he will be joining his parents, Bill and Sue, and his brothers, Joseph and Thomas, in Heaven.
Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, at the Coeur d’Alene Seventh Day Adventist Church at 111 N. Locust Ave. If you feel moved, the family suggests living plants in place of flowers or contributions to offset medical bills or for his grandson’s college fund.
Please visit the online obituary at www.belltowerfuneralhome.com. Bell Tower Funeral Home entrusted with arrangements.