Ben Taggart: Artist, Deep Thinker, Hit and Run Victim

This section includes both obituaries and memories. Honoring our loved ones who have died does not end immediately after their passing. We recognize that… so we’re extending our obituary section to include individuals who may have left a long time ago. If you want to remember someone who is gone, either recently or longer ago, please send a photo and a few sentences to Tell us why you would like to honor the person–is it their birthday, the date of their passing or some other date of significance to you.

ben Taggart


It is with deep sadness and many regrets our family offers this obituary of our beloved Grandson, son, nephew, brother and cousin, Benjamin Lee Taggart. Born April 26th, 1995, Ben was killed by a hit and run driver near the slough bridge in Eureka in the early morning of January 5th, 2017. He was 21 years old. He was an artist, a deep and unusual thinker. Ben was a Yurok tribal member with a million-dollar smile who loved to hunt, fish, trap and camp, especially along the Klamath River. He was also very sweet. He was deeply troubled by a sense of being unforgivable by God, in spite of his devout Christian faith. This fear caused him much sadness, and we are grateful that he is at peace.Ben Taggart

Though sober when he was killed, multi-generational trauma, mental illness, and addiction were factors in both his life and his death. Ben spent most of his upbringing away from his parents in the foster care, mental health, medical, and probation systems. Nevertheless, his parents, Carla Dee Aubrey and Gregory Allen Taggart, Sr., loved him deeply. The many social workers, medical providers, and other care-givers who worked with Ben over the course of his life are among the most dedicated individuals our county is blessed to have as members. Our family would like to express our gratitude for their care of Ben. They and his extended family all tried to keep him safe, and did everything they could to help him.

He is survived by many cousins, aunties and uncles, both down river and in town. Among these are David and Mara Severns, Ed Severns, Edward and Nicole Aubrey, Lorraine Taggart, Jean Rice, and Lavonne and Josh Guido. In addition to his parents, he is survived by his grandparents, David Reece of Eureka and Elizabeth Owen of Klamath; his brothers Zachary Myers, Jeffrey Myers, Joseph Brazil, Gregory Taggart, Jr., Daniel Taggart, and his closest brother, Sean Taggart. Also grieving this loss are his foster family, George and Rebecca Kurwitz and their children, Melinda Myers, Kelly Kurwitz Buckman, Merry Rogers, Ken Kurwitz, Christina Otteson, Matthew Myers, and their families.

A funeral service will be held at Christ Episcopal Church, in Eureka, Thursday January 12th, at 2pm. A memorial will be held in Klamath on Friday, January 13th, at noon, at the Tribal office. We invite those who helped care for Ben during his short life to join us celebrating him at these services. He would have appreciated attendees wearing red and black, colors associated with Down River Indians. Following the memorials, Ben will be laid to rest in a coffin built by his uncles in an interment at Blake’s Riffle.



  • Deepest sympathies

  • Beautiful obituary. Thank you for highlighting his struggles as well as your love for him. Maybe this will help someone else. God bless.

  • Am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful honest respectful obit, thank you. Blessings to you and yours.

  • Condolences to the family and friends. May he rest in peace.

  • Beautifully written, so sorry for your loss. It’s sad to think 5 days into 2017 we get our first hit and run homicide. I hope the person involved is found and justice is served. My thoughts are with the family and friends of Ben.

  • My deepest sympathies to his family & friends. I hope the memories you have of him will in time bring you a measure of comfort.

  • So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing one young man’s story. Sending love.

  • That was a very touching and beautiful obituary. Thank you so much for sharing a bit of his life. I am so sorry for his family’s loss and that of our community as well.

  • Melissa Bollschweiler


  • My condolences to all the familys.Im so very sorry George.

  • Beautiful tribute…He is at peace…Sending love and light

  • Kathryn Van Pelt Frye

    My condolences to the family…Very touching article that was written about him…God’s Blessings to all….

  • That’s a cool picture of Ben with a Orb around him Rest in paradise young man….

  • Im so sorry that this young mans life was cut short. It seems unfair, but the Great Spirit has his reasons for taking him so young. Ben is in his happy place now, and we will all be re-united with him someday Rest in Peace my friend until that day comes

  • So sorry for your loss sending my love and prayers to you all.

  • Rest In Peace, brother. Thank you for the beutiful share, I’m sorry for your loss.

  • So heartbreaking, I’m lucky to say that I got to know him and care for him for a couple of years when he was a teen. Safe journey home Benjamin Button.

  • Rest in Peace.

  • So sad that his life ended so tragically !!! What a BEAUTIFULLY touching and honest obit. May all those that knew him and touched his life find peace at this time. He is finally at peace .

  • What a beautiful tribute to him. His magic and his struggles. Thank you for letting those of us who didn’t know him, know of him and share more fully in your loss.
    My thoughts are with you.

  • My brother was also taken by a hit and run driver. I am so sorry for the loss of a young man once again by the carelessness of another. May your hearts find peace.

  • Our deepest condolences,

  • Rest in Peace young one.

  • What an honest and kind obituary. Wishing your family peace during this tragedy. I appreciate having had the opportunity to get to know him and am saddened by his life being cut so short. May his soul rest in peace.

  • Sending my deepest condolences to this young man’s friends and family.

  • I am so very sorry. I will keep his brother and the rest of his family in my prayers. I wish I had more words, but really, there are just no words to say to ease or soften the grief of losing a life so young.

  • I worked were Ben lived I am so sorry to hear of his passing…I see his picture as a little boy… He still had that child like smile as a young man at 21… God bless his soul may he rest in peace and may God have mercy for all who he touched in his short life time…I can’t imagine the pain his loved ones are going through.. I pray for his family.

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