Ben packed a lot of living and loving into his 38 years. He was a warm, open-minded, free-spirited, and adventurous person. He had a great sense of humor, and found peace in the company of good people, good times, and good tunes. He was a passionate lover of outdoor sports, especially scuba diving. In addition to cave diving, Ben loved snowboarding, rock climbing, mountain biking, jet-skiing, mini-golfing, swimming with whale sharks, and kayaking. Ben was a great connoisseur of music; he loved live shows like the Disco Biscuits, as well as classics like Bob Marley, the Grateful Dead and Allman Brothers. Ben loved to explore the world and had travelled to Indonesia, Peru, Tibet, and Costa Rica. Ben adored his dogs Sashi, Zion and Appa. He was a proud member of the LGBTQ community.
Ben lived in Raleigh, North Carolina, and worked as an emergency medic for the internationally renowned Divers Alert Network (DAN). As a medic at DAN, Ben helped staff a 24/7 hotline for scuba divers around the world answering inquiries about underwater- and dive-related emergencies. Ben was cherished by his colleagues and superiors at DAN for his breadth of knowledge, ability to explain complex medical concepts, and superb clinical judgment.
In 2019, Ben graduated from Johnson State College in Vermont, where he majored in Outdoor Education, having also earned certifications as Mountain and Wilderness EMTs. During the pandemic, Ben volunteered as an EMT with the Rutland Regional Ambulance Corps.
Ben is survived by his mother Janet Goldmark, his father Hal Strelnick, his stepmother Deb Ellis, his stepsiblings John and Mia Ellis and Reine Duevi, his cousins Leila Goldmark and her daughter Jordan Sternberg, Rosie and Daniel Strelnick, Alex and Andrew Stehn, and many dear friends.
Ben knew the risk involved in SCUBA diving, and told his mother, “If I died diving, as least know that I died happy.” That is a comfort to us all.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in Ben's name to the Student Conservation Association, www.thesca.org/. SCA is dedicated to building the next generation of wilderness conservation leaders.