Mother of a Pitchfork 05-09'

I remember the first time I met Ben… This unassuming man with a baseball cap came to my doorstep with his entourage of talented young men late one autumn afternoon in 2005, as the Pitchforks became a blessing, and a wonderful and cherished part of my life. Not only did my son benefit from being a part of this incredible fraternity of amazing young men, but our entire family was richer for being welcomed as a part of this incredible extended family as well... and the greatest gift of all was Ben.

For four wonderful years, Ben became a welcome fixture at my home whenever the group would travel on break, and I always looked forward to this ritual with great anticipation. Ben fell in love with our family dog, McKenzie, and you could always find the two of them huddled in a corner together. Ben absolutely adored her, and McKenzie was particularly honored to have been included in Ben's Pitchfork photo on the website....

While I always knew that Ben was special, this unassuming man with his multitude of talents and incredible heart and spirit, became a cherished part of our family, just as we became a part of his. To know Ben was to love him, and while he was here he brought joy and love to all of us, through so many layers that we are all still discovering. Yet the greatest gift that of all, was bringing each one of us together as an extended family, with strong and heartfelt ties that will always endure. Whether through his teaching, hiss music, or his selfless community service, Benjamin Ward was a master composer… of life.

Your legacy lives on Papa Grande… and I have no doubt that you are in Heaven teaching Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart your impeccable Pitchfork harmonies, while sipping on a large tumbler of ginger ale. You are dearly loved and dearly missed Ben... God bless you....well done! ❤

- Ivey Pate