Ben Thomas Featherston
Ben Thomas Featherston was born to Brit and Amy Featherston on September 8, 2002, in Lufkin, Texas. Ben was a freshman pre-med major at the University of Texas in Austin in September when he fell ill from an infection of unknown origin. For over 60 days, being on life support, 11 surgeries, amputations of his legs, and other battles, Ben never quit fighting, and his big heart refused to quit. He never complained and sought to comfort others as they were pained by his illness. When asked how he was, the answer was always the same, “I’m doing okay!” When awakened after amputation surgery, his first words stated hoarsely to family, doctors and nurses (who had been surrounding his bed waiting) were “I don’t need my legs,” asked to repeat what he just said, he repeated “I don’t need my legs, I’m okay!” This was Ben, comforting others as always.
Ben (or Step-Dad Ben, and Iron Puntsa by his friends, of which we have no explanation why LOL) was 19 years old when he ascended into heaven among the Saints and Angels on November 26, 2021. Although only 19, he was wise beyond his young years on this earth. Just before Ben died, over 100 friends, coaches, doctors, and family paraded through his room at Texas Children’s Hospital ICU to tell stories, share moments, and say goodbye to an amazing student, friend and loved one. As sad as his death is, the demonstration of love and compassion that day speaks volumes to who Ben was. A constant theme among his many friends is that he refused to talk bad about anyone, and the many examples of recurring good deeds of which he sought no attention.
Ben was an Eagle Scout from Troop 85 (St. Anne’s Catholic Church, Beaumont). He graduated with honors from Lumberton High School in 2021. He was a member of the varsity football team (thank you Ms. Mauer) after playing for seven years and a member of the National Honor Society. He was a proud recipient of the Artie Trahan Memorial Scholarship Award, honoring mentor and friend, Coach Trahan who preceded Ben in death. Ben was an experienced scuba diver and enjoyed hiking and his two favorite dogs, Max and Dobby. Ben read and watched science fiction books and movies from an early age, reading all of the Star Wars series and many others. An avid action gamer, he and his friends gamed often late into the night laughing and yelling. He liked hunting and working on his grandparents’ ranch in Flatonia, Texas. He liked catching fish, but, if the fish weren’t biting, he would pull out a book to read. Ben is known by his friends to be an “old kind soul,” and had an eclectic music playlist of all types of music, Sinatra to Chris Stapleton, Lil Wayne to America, Johnny Cash to soundtracks of video games, that his friends called “straight gas.” Ben loved college football-Game Day Saturdays. He often donated blood and volunteered at the Southeast Texas Food Bank. He was experienced in mucking out houses after hurricanes, which he did for many for friends and strangers.
More important, and a priceless asset, Ben had lots of great friends; too numerous to identify. Ben was a loyal friend and was surrounded by equally loyal loving friends who all cared for each other. To all of you, Ben would want you to continue his legacy by always being there when your friend needs you, don’t let petty things get in the way of friendship, and be a great friend and neighbor. Forever special to our heart, Ben was blessed to have the love of his life, Kate James. Kate was by Ben’s side every single day of his last journey. Thank you, Kate!
Ben performed his first communion at St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Beaumont under the direction of beloved Father John Hughes. He also attended and was confirmed by Father Andy Moore at Infant Jesus Catholic Church in Lumberton. Ben was a man of faith and chose to join the YoungLife Student Association at the University of Texas. He also enjoyed the Newman Catholic Center on campus.
The family wants to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff members at St. Elizabeth Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital Adult Congenital Cardiac Unit. Your world-class care, love and support was nothing short of amazing. We appreciate every act of treatment you provided with loving care.
To all our friends, family, extended families and former strangers that have joined us along Ben’s journey, we will be eternally grateful. We are pretty private people with little social media profile, and little care to share our private lives. However, we quickly learned that Ben’s journey was not just about us, but it involved hundreds of others, maybe thousands, literally from around the world that sought nothing more than good news for Ben. A bond that grew every passing day. We so wanted to impart the good news and our heart hurt to share the bad; you shared the pain with us and it eased our heartache. A roller coaster of good and then not-so-good Ben reports over 60 days led so many to send us their love and support. Sometimes cookies, sometimes cards, sometimes groceries left at the door or grass magically being mowed. Every single day, love and caring returned to us, an amazing show of how kindness and support remains our most cherished human act.
Although we all prayed for a better outcome, your daily reach-outs, sometimes as simple as a “like” or a “smiley-face,” or an encouraging comment, meant the world to us. It’s impossible to name all the wonderful friends and family whose love and support became the daily rock of which we held for support. Some of you came to the rescue in the middle of the night through your time, talent and treasure. Know that we shared with Ben your outreach and always he smiled with those beautiful teeth. Thank you and we love you! Many of you were mentors of Ben that helped to shape the man he was, for that we thank you! Scouts were a big part of Ben’s life and development. To Jeff Purcell and all the Boy Scout leaders, we say thank you for molding Ben into the man he was. Ben was not the greatest athlete (we even joked after his leg surgery that U.T. could use his help on Saturdays), but no matter what he did on or off the field, he gave his all with a great heart. Ben’s sister Anna shared this as it reflects sweetly on Ben’s life with all of us….“We remain immortal by the good deeds we do for others.”
Ben loved being 60 feet underwater with the fish, but his heart was always in the stars….to infinity and beyond our son.
Ben loved his family. He is survived by his mom, Amy, dad, Brit, and sister, Anna Featherston; Grandfather, Ben “Poppo” Charba (Cistern, TX); Uncles and Aunts, Tom and Sherry Featherston (Waco, TX), Bill and Cynthia Featherston, and cousin, Ryan (Houston, TX); cousins, Amy, Mark and Rees Potts (Houston, TX); cousins, Carrie Featherston, Cameron and Thomas Stratton (Waco, TX), Jennifer, Richard, Rufina, Julian, Aidan, John, and Frank Robbins (Duluth, MN); Great- Aunts, Erna Johnson and husband Rich (Cistern, TX), Georgia Thompson and her children, Patricia Sands husband, Butch and son, Peter (Marion, MA) and Jimmy Thompson and wife, Sharon (Pittsburgh, PA); Great-Uncles, David Charba and wife, Barbara (Cistern, TX) and their children, Jenny McLane and husband, Steve and son, Stevie (Keller, TX), Beth Levitz and husband Chris, and daughter, Avery (Fulshear, TX) and Felicia Sharp and husband, Owen and children, Joshua and Ashlyn (League City, TX), Jesse Charba and wife, Akua (Silver Springs, MD) and his children, Chrissi Charba (Reston, VA), and Melissa Viswanath and husband, Anu and children, Priya and Chaya (Centreville, VA); and cousins, Dena and Brian Wood and children, Jake and Rachel (Austin, TX) and Debbie and Ray Pena (Pearland, TX) and children, Ryan and RJ, Gavin, and grandson, Leo; Great-Uncle Bob Hunter, (Carole’s husband) of Arlington, VA; cousins, Franklin and Sue Ise and children, Erik and Kiel (Overland Park, KS), Anne Ise and husband, Sean Daw and children, Maeve and Els (Grayslake, IL), John Ise and Karon Coleman and children, Amalie, Cecelia, and Gabriel (Miami Shores, FL), and Robbie and Aimee Hunter and children, Sophie and Grace (Catonsville, MD).
Ben is preceded in death by his grandparents, Thomas Moore Featherston, Mary Lou Featherston, and Willa Means Charba; and Great-Aunts, Charlene Charba-Curlee and Carole Means Hunter.
A Celebration of Life gathering for Ben will begin at 5:30 p.m., with a Time of Sharing at 6:30 p.m., Friday, December 3, 2021, at Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, December 4, 2021, at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, 6825 Gladys Avenue, Beaumont. Ben’s burial will be held at 3:00 p.m., Tuesday, December 7, 2021, in his family cemetery, Sts. Cyril and Methodius Cemetery, in Cistern, Texas.
For the gathering, all are encouraged to wear burnt orange or their college colors.
The family requests any donations in Ben’s name be sent to Texas Children’s Hospital Adult Congenital Heart Fund, P.O. Box 300630 Houston, Texas 77230-0630 online at waystogive.texaschildrens.org/; or in Beaumont, Regina Rogers’ IEA- Inspire Encourage Achieve, 20 North 11th Street, Beaumont, Texas 77702 online at https://ieainspires.com/donate; or Three Rivers Council, Boy Scouts of America, 4650 Cardinal Drive, Beaumont, Texas 77701.
Please observe social distancing guidelines. By attending any public event, you are acknowledging the risk of exposure to the Coronavirus. Please follow the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control: cdc.gov.
Celebration of Life Gathering
Broussard’s Mortuary Major Dr.
- 1605, North Major Drive, Beaumont, Texas, 77713,
- December 3, 2021
- 5:30 pm
A Time of Sharing
Broussard’s Mortuary Major Dr.
- 1605, North Major Drive, Beaumont, Texas, 77713,
- December 3, 2021
- 6:30 pm
St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church
- 6825, Gladys Ave, Beaumont, TX, 77706,
- December 4, 2021
- 11:00 am
Sts. Cyril and Methodius Cemetery
- 113, Manchester Street, Flatonia, Texas, 78941,
- December 7, 2021
- 3:00 pm