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Benjamin "Ben" Sontag

Benjamin "Ben"


Benjamin "Ben" Sontag, longtime business owner and resident of Hastings, passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, January 21, 2018, at United Hospital in St. Paul, at the age of 96.

Benjamin St. John, the son of Harold and Kathleen (St. John) Sontag, was born on July 24, 1921, in Lakefield, Minnesota. Following his graduation from Lakefield High School with the class of 1939, Ben continued his education at the University of Minnesota where be obtained a BBA in Business Administration and graduated with the class of 1942. He was wed to Rosemarie Ruhr of Rosemount, MN on May 22, 1943. In that year he had enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve. After attending Naval Supply School at Harvard, he became the supply officer for the 31st Construction Battalion. In October 1944 they were shipped out to the Pacific War Zone where they were attached to the 5th Marines and part of the invasion of Iwo Jima in February 1945. Ben returned to the February 1946 and he returned to Harvard where he completed his MBA degree.

After seeing a need for a lumber yard in Hastings, Ben opened the Hastings Lumber Mart in 1949. His talent for woodworking and developing homes throughout Hastings allowed him to successfully operate the lumber yard until selling it to United Building Center in 1982. Ben was also actively involved in partnership of the Ready-Mix Plant, True Value Hardware, and was one of the original owners of KDWA. He enjoyed the opportunity to keep busy to help better the community. Ben was a dedicated member of Kiwanis, Knights of Columbus 1600, and the Lumberman's Association. He also served on the Board of Directors at First National Bank and Northwest Bank, as well as Trustee of St. Boniface Catholic Church, all in Hastings.

Following his retirement, Ben and Rosemarie enjoyed traveling extensively around the world. They were blessed with the opportunity to spend twenty-eight winters in Key Largo, Florida, as well as fifty-two years at the family cabin. Ben loved the outdoors, and enjoyed hunting and fishing.

He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Robert and David Sontag; daughter, Carol Lindahl; and by his son-in-law, Dave Jambois.

Ben is survived by his wife of 74 years, Rosemarie; children, Lynn (Chuck) Palenik, Gail Jambois, Jim Sontag (significant other, Teri Witzany), and Tom (Janet) Sontag; ten grandchildren and ten great grandchildren; and by nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held 11:00 a.m. Friday, January 26, 2018, at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Hastings, with Father Michael Barsness and Father Martin Siebenaler concelebrating. Interment with Military Honors provided by the Hastings VFW Lyle Russell Post 1210 will be held at the parish cemetery. Visitation will be held at the church from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. on Friday morning. In lieu of flowers, Ben's family requests memorials to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Research Fund at the University of Minnesota.

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Arrangements are being completed by Caturia, Smidt & Starkson Funeral Home & Crematory of Hastings.