Benjamin Arnold Stein, was the first son of Phillip & Bertha . Ben legally didn't have a middle name but liked the name Arnold so he took it on & became known as Ben A. Stein. 47 years later when the family went to get a passport for him, they found out that Phillip had registered his name as Paul. Everyone had a good laugh.

Phillip wanted Ben to be an upholsterer like him but he had no interest in that and knew the only way out was to goof up and he did. Grandpa gave him a sofachair to stuff. Instead of using the proper material he used newspaper as stuffing. the woman returned the chair when she couldn't sit on it. Ben was happily fired.

Ben married Tillie (Ty) Wolkow on March 8, 1936. Their only child Marilyn was born on July 3, 1937. After marrying, they lived at 1340 S. Troy St. with Tillie’s parents Bessie & Jake & her 3 younger sisters. It was depression time & a necessity but Ben loved it. coming from a large family this was comfort for him. He first worked as a liquor salesman, then Jake & Ben went into business together opening a 5 dining room restaurant. Ty worked as hostess. Years later they sold & opened a tavern on the south side during the war years. With the neighborhood changing they sold & opened a convenience store with Tillie right at his side working daily as the cashier. He disliked driving so Ty drove everywhere. But he loved his cigars , a good danish, Laurel & Hardy & playing golf on the weekends.

The family moved to 4740 Washington Blvd. in the Austin area in 1946, where they lived until 1962 when they moved to 8240 Gross Pt. Rd. Morton Grove. When Jake retired Ben went into the commercial soap business. He loved it because he was able to kibbitz with people. He was the consummate storyteller. He loved telling kids that he was a Dr. that healed sick chickens, that he single handedly captured 100 germans during the war (he never served) and how he had obtained every medal the army had to offer including the purple heart. He was never able to produce them because supposedly they were stored away in the crawl space of the garage. Always the comic, he once hid his sister Gertie’s bras when she had a date with someone he didn’t like, so she had to cancel. When sister Ida came home from a date one night he laid down in the dark hall & they both fell over him in a fright. When Marilyn started dating he wasn't too happy & neither was she because wherever she went he showed up. At the movies he was a few rows back saying later that he had no idea that she would be there. At Freilachs ice cream parlor (a teen hangout) he was always sitting in the corner eating a sundae, again stating that he had no idea that Marilyn would be there.

The storytelling continued. His grand kids, Mark, Bob & Rita thought he was Superman & could fly. He visited Indianapolis once where they lived. The kids had all of their friends in the yard waiting to watch their Pop fly. Always the fastest thinker he said the problem was, was that he forgot his cape in Chicago. The kids believed that one too. He loved taking Mark & Bob on his truck on Saturdays, starting out with breakfast, lots of junk food & stories & shopping. Rita spent those days shopping with her gram & when she did go with her "Poppie" they never agreed because he wanted her to buy 3 pairs of shoes & she would say 1 was enough. He would come home & pretend to guzzle down a bottle of Maalox because of aggravation. The kids loved it. It was his passion to tell people that his wife was trapeze artist in the circus & that he was 15 years older than he actually was.

Ben was 68 when he died of cancer. He went into the hospital for a backache & passed away 5 weeks later on November 7, 1983. When he passed away the owner of the gas station he frequented said "well, for a man of 83 he sure looked good". He is survived by Marilyn and her 3 children, Mark, Robert & Rita, who think of him daily, and often quote him and pass on his wonderful memories to his his great grandchildren, Bari, Ben, Marley, Jamie, Lily and Rose. His memory will live in their hearts forever.


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