It is with profound sadness that the family of Bienvenido “Ben” Butalon announce that
he was called home on June 10, 2023, at the age of 81. The world lost a great husband,
brother, father, grandfather, great grandfather, and a dear friend. Ben fought hard and
finished incredibly strong in his journey in this life and left peacefully at home
surrounded by family.
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 59 years, Carmelita; children Melanie &
Edwin, Dulce, Carmela & Allan, Celina & Jaycee, and Michelle; grandchildren Monica &
Christian, David, Matthew, John, and James; great grandchildren Annabelle, Noah, and
Teddy; as well as numerous relatives and friends.
Ben was born in Parañaque, Philippines, on October 16, 1941, to Benita and Amado
Butalon. He was the fourth of eight children and was the closest to his mother whom he
adored greatly throughout her life.
He went to Don Galo Elementary School then to Arellano University while doing odd
jobs for a living. His strong desire to take care of his family made him do backbreaking
work as a painter and mechanic at a young age.
Ben was 16 years old when he again crossed paths with his old neighbor and childhood
friend Carmelita. He grew close to her and her family without realizing his deep
connection to her had grown. It was not until 4 years later that Ben confessed his
interest through a cousin who handed Carmelita’s first of many love letters he wrote.
They married happily through a civil wedding on March 16, 1964, then later in church on
May 24 of the same year celebrated by their family and friends. They raised 5 strong,
independent daughters in their many years together.
He was a natural street smart, a multi-skilled jack of all trades to those who knew him.
In addition to working as a painter and a mechanic, he also worked as a busboy in
Sheraton Manila where he cleared tables for well-known political figures and celebrities
of his time. His strong desire to provide for his growing family drove him to work abroad.
He painted underground tanks in Wake Island and operated heavy machinery in Saudi
Arabia. He came home for good when he realized that he could not bear to be away
from his family.
Then he entered the police force through the encouragement of his father-in-law. He
grew his career over the next 23 years and retired as a senior police officer in 1997. The
longevity of his career was brought by his dedication and good nature. He went beyond
his way to extend help to anyone – the “go-to person” to his family, friends, neighbors,
and police comrades. He continued to serve his community even after his retirement.
He started and led an organization that provided help to retired police officers from cash
to medical & food assistance. Through his leadership, his group initiated a medical
mission that focused on helping the elderly in his community. He also led setup a
shooting range to give his retired comrades a place to come together and to reminisce
on their good old days.
It was in 1998 when his long battle for his health started. Over the years he has won
over numerous health scares. He cheated death when he was 57 years old in what
would be the most memorable fight for his life. His strong will to live pushed him beyond
his limits when he drove himself alone to the emergency room while suffering a heart
attack at midday.
He injured his spine from a fall that would confine him to a wheelchair at 70 years old,
yet not an ounce of discouragement was seen from him. He carried on enjoying what he
loved the most – travelling and good food with his favorite folks – his family. His zest for
life was exceptional. He lived his life in full and did everything he enjoyed – from sipping
iced caffè lattes in Tagaytay, eating grilled “pagi” by the roadside in Malaysia, feasting
on roasted Peking duck and braised chicken feet in Macau, to his usual French toast,
bacon, and eggs at his favorite breakfast joint Egg N’ Joe in Gilbert, Arizona.
He moved to the US in 2019 and spent the rest of his years enjoying life with his wife
and two daughters including their families. He doted especially on his great
grandchildren Annabelle, Noah, and baby Teddy.
Ben, Daddy, or “Lolo Daddy” to his grandchildren, was a comical genius who had a
knack in always giving his family a good laugh, most times at his own expense. He was
charming and alluring, quiet yet there was a noticeable strength in him. His family is
eternally grateful and will forever cherish his parting gift of bringing them together in the
same room to honor and to remember his countless memories. To say his family loved
him would be an understatement and to say that he will be greatly missed would be an
even greater one.
A visitation will be held at 6:00 pm on Friday June 23, 2023, at Gilbert Memorial Park,
2100 East Queen Creek Road, Gilbert, AZ 85297, followed by a funeral service and
mass at 10:00 am on Saturday, June 24, 2023.
Please click the link below to view the service Live..