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