WINTHROP – Ben M. Crites, 77, of Winthrop, died peacefully at home with his family by his side on August 29, 2020.
Ben was born in Paris, Texas on August 20, 1943. Along with his parents, Wilma and Ben Crites Sr., and his sister and brother, he spent his younger years in California. He studied physics at the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree.
After Berkeley, he worked at early technology firms in Silicon Valley. He married Sandra in 1968 and they moved to Los Gatos, Calif. where they launched a small craft business and collected antiques. Ben and Sandra loved California but longed for more space where they could live off the land. In 1972, they bought a farmhouse surrounded by 60 acres of woods in Fayette. They raised their two daughters alongside their many animals, apple orchards, and gardens. Ben and his family moved to Winthrop in 1989 where he and Sandra enjoyed many peaceful walks with their dogs in the neighborhood.
Ben’s career in information technology spanned positions with the State of Maine at the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Office of the Judiciary. He concluded the last 20 years of his career at Tyler Technologies in Falmouth as a systems analyst, writing much of the original programming code that formed the backbone of the company’s software.
Ben was a loving husband, father, and brother who will be remembered for his brilliant mind and desire for knowledge. Over his life he developed home renovation and stonework skills. One of his proudest accomplishments was building a stone cottage in Fayette for his beloved mother-in-law. His love of reading was deep and varied throughout his life in subjects ranging from physics and ancient history to science fiction and natural history. His fascination with ancient Rome was further deepened by six trips to Italy later in his life with his family. He held a deep love for California and its natural wonders, especially Yosemite National Park.
Over the past decade, Ben suffered from two major strokes, followed by dementia in his later years. While he tragically lost the ability to read, he never gave up on his interest in books. In his final weeks, Ben was comforted greatly by looking at “Hubble,” a large-scale book of images of space taken from the NASA telescope. Ben’s family is grateful to Maine General Hospice for the support and comfort they provided in his final months.
Ben is survived by his wife, Sandra Crites of Winthrop; his sister, Karen Burke, of Winthrop; his daughters, Julie Crites and her husband, Jorge Aguilera Iparraguirre of Boston, and Sarah Crites and her husband, Joseph Snapp of Lusaka, Zambia; and his grandchildren, Luna Crites-Aguilera and Liam and Coralie Snapp.
Ben’s life will be celebrated in a private gathering.
Arrangements are in the care of Roberts Funeral Home, 62 Bowdoin Street, Winthrop. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the funeral home website at http://www.familyfirstfuneralhomes.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for a gift in Ben’s name to Maine General Hospice Care at https://www.mainegeneral.org/about-us/donate-to-mainegeneral.