Ben Thomas Featherston

September 8, 2002 - November 26, 2021

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.

Video

Download Program

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

Funeral Mass

St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church
  • 6825, Gladys Ave, Beaumont, TX, 77706,
  • December 4, 2021
  • 11:00 am

Graveside Service

Sts. Cyril and Methodius Cemetery
  • 113, Manchester Street, Flatonia, Texas, 78941,
  • December 7, 2021
  • 3:00 pm

Comments (24)

    John Greak says:

    Amy,
    I called Ben and found out about your loss of your wonderful son. I am so sorry for your loss. May GOD give you peace during this most difficult time.

    Susan Williams says:

    I didn’t know your beloved Ben, but something drew me to read his obituary. What an extraordinary young man! Dream of the beautiful world we would have if we had more “Ben’s”!

    I know you will grieve his loss forever, but you sure had a rare and precious gift that few of us are privileged to have in our lives. I know your memories will comfort you through your anguish.

    I wish I knew him. Maybe someday I will be so fortunate.

    Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg says:

    No words can express the pain that you are going through after losing Ben. We are sending you love and prayers and hope you are able to find strength during this dark time. Our prayers and blessings are with you, and we are extending our deepest sympathy to you during this time.

    Angie Wallace says:

    Brit Featherston and family, may wonderful memories grace your hearts in the days to come, and may the Lord cause his face to shine upon you and give you peace.

    Mary Ann Butler says:

    Amy, Brit, and Anna, My heart breaks for your loss. Yet, I smile at the same time as I read of Ben’s legacy. What a great blessing he is to all who knew him and who’s lives he touched. Please know our prayers continue for you all.
    Much love, Mary Ann

    Creig Miller says:

    Praying for you and your family at this time of profound sorrow.
    Creig Miller

    Sharon Lee (Balsamo) says:

    Brit & family, I have followed Ben’s journey since it started & I am so sorry for your loss. Although, I didn’t know Ben, it was obvious that he was an awesome young man & was loved by everyone. Just know that my thoughts, love, & prayers are with you and your family. Love, Sharon.

    Roy and Marolyn Armstrong says:

    Amy and family,
    We send our deepest and sincere sympathy for your loss. We prayed hard for Ben and your family and will continue.
    God bless and our love.

    Jason Duncan says:

    Brit and Family–We are so sorry for your loss. We have been praying daily for Ben and for you. Ben was an outstanding young man, touched so many, and will be missed dearly. We will continue to pray for you. God Bless you.
    Jason, Dawn, Luke, and Lacy Duncan

    Brandy Foote says:

    Your memory is my keepsake,
    With which we’ll never part.
    God has you in his keeping,
    I have you in my heart.

    May you find peace and comfort. I love you guys.
    Brandy Foote

    Jan Brook says:

    To Amy, Britt and Anna
    I remember Ben from kindergarten at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica School.
    Ben was a quiet, thoughtful and beautiful little boy, who was a pleasure to teach. I am sure that while we remember him he will ALWAYS be with us, his beautiful smile guiding our way.
    Sending all our love and prayers over to you all.
    From Jan, John Alice & George Brook
    Huddersfield, United Kingdom

    Tracye Fontenot Thibodeaux says:

    Brit and Family, What a wonderful life Ben lived. There are no words for such a loss. On behalf of my dad Jerry Fontenot former PAPD and myself accept our deepest sympathy. We will continue to pray, during difficult days ahead for your family and all who love Ben. Gods peace be with you,
    Jerry Fontenot & Tracye Fontenot Thibodeaux

    SRSO Bart Brown says:

    Brit and Family,

    On behalf of the entire Regional Security Office here in Baghdad, Iraq we extend our deepest and most sincere condolences to you and your family for you loss. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

    ~ Bart

    Ryan says:

    Our deepest condolences. What a beautiful vibrant life – what proud parents you must be. What a legacy.

    God bless and comfort you all during these challenging times.

    Annette Gillen reed says:

    Britt and Family, I am so sorry for your loses.

    Gary Gorsich says:

    May god heal the hole in your hearts

    Patrice Rabalais says:

    Bret and Anna,
    Glen and I were saddened to hear about Ben. Like many others, we have been praying for him, your family, and medical staff. I have good memories of him and his sister when your family attended St. Jude. Continued prayers.
    Glen and Patrice Rabalais

    Chief Deputy Kirk Rice says:

    On behalf of the Groves Police Department, please accept our deepest sympathies. Our hearts go out to you and your family during this time of sorrow. No words can describe how sorry we are for your loss. Ben touched so many lives and will be deeply missed by many. God Bless!

    Jimmy Soileau says:

    Brit and family, I have followed Ben’s journey since it was first made public. Jada and I have prayed for Ben and continue to pray for you and your family during this difficult time. We can only imagine what you are going thru and my heart hurts for you guys.
    Much love my Brother

    Diane Cannon says:

    RIP, precious Ben!

    Kathy Riley says:

    I cannot imagine your pain. Please know that I am praying for you and your family and y’all are in my thoughts every day

    Sheila Dunn says:

    Amy, I was so sorry and heartbroken for you and your family with the loss of Ben. It is quite obvious he was such a brave young man. My son Chris and his wife Mandy both coached Ben in football and track. They both have stated he was a very fine young man and an absolute pleasure and honor to coach and know personally. I know he will be missed, but his memory will live on.

    Bonney Bryan says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Ben and family have been in our prayers throughout this extremely difficult time. We continue to pray for God to carry you in the palm of His hands as you continue to grieve. May God bless your family.
    Bonney Bryan

    David Barlow says:

    Britt and family — I am so sorry to learn of Ben’s passing. Please know that the Featherston family is in my prayers through this difficult time.

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