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Ben DeBolt left wide legacy

Original post made on Nov 11, 2010

Mountain View community leader and educator Ralph Benjamin DeBolt is well remembered by former Mountain View schoolchildren as the principal who sang to them on a weekly basis. After retirement he was a city commissioner, a cable access TV personality and a local historian, among other things. He was 83 when he died last week at the family home in Mountain View.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 11, 2010, 10:53 AM

Comments (22)

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Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2010 at 12:17 pm

I have fond memories from my school days of Mr. DeBolt being the friendliest school administrator ever. He touched countless lives of Mountain View kids and his legacy will not be forgotten.

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Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2010 at 1:23 pm

USA is a registered user.

He sounds like a good man. Sorry for your loss.

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Posted by Honor Spitz
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2010 at 2:43 pm

God speed, Ben!! You were bigger than life. You led by example. How fortunate we were to have known you, to have had you in our midst for so long.

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Posted by Robert Weaver
a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I had the distinct pleasure of serving with Ben on the first Board of Directors for the then newly formed Moffett Field Historical Society. As a natural leader, Ben was the the obvious choice for president. His strong personality was the glue that held us all together and kept us on course.
Ben has left a great legacy in this community, and I for one will miss him.

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Posted by Laura Macias
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Nov 11, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I have heard many good things about Mr. DeBolt and appreciate the many fine works that he was part of in our community. My sympathies to the DeBolt family.

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Posted by Bill Crawford, MVPD
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Ben and I worked together at the then Klein School, at a time when policemen were only on campus if there was a problem. I attribute to him the original notion of a School Resource Officer, long before it was fashionable to do so!

What a great role model and leader.

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Posted by Kristi Dees
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm

I remember Mr. DeBolt from Graham. I know my mom Dena Bonnell, adored him.He was a principle for many years while my mom when it was then the Mtn. View School District. I am so sorry to hear of his passing. He was always so nice especially after my brothers passing and then again when my mom died. He will be missed greatly.

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Posted by Tedd Siegel
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2010 at 10:24 am

I attended Bubb Elementary when Ben DeBolt was principal in the 70s. I still remember him very fondly.

Tedd Siegel (Jac Siegel's son)

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Posted by Michele Sullivan
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2010 at 11:49 am

I had the honor of working with Ben at West Bay Opera for two decades. One thing in particular I learned from him, to stay and live your principles when challenged instead of giving up and leaving, has served me well in so many areas of my life. Plus, I get to pass that on to my kids.

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Posted by Luz Guerra
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 14, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I liked Ben a lot, and am very sorry to know of his passing. I first met him in 1967 when he was my Principal at Bubb School. Later, I taught at Graham, and he was the Principal or Asst. Principal there. He was always pleasant to work with... he was a very nice person. We were both classical music musicians, so, what fun to hear the strains of La Boheme and Traviata, coming out of his office after school. Also...several times I attended West Bay Opera....and saw him could tell that he loved it! I will miss him. .... Luz Guerra

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Posted by Virginia Shea
a resident of another community
on Nov 15, 2010 at 9:49 am

It was my pleasure and privilege to know Ben for ten years at our church. I worked with him on committees and sang with him in the choir. Everything about Ben was big -- his physical presence, his personality, his heart, and of course his beautiful tenor voice. In church now, it's hard to believe he won't be walking in at any moment. We miss him a lot, but how lucky we were to have him with us for so long.

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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Nov 15, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I went to Bubb and remember him well, great teacher and a GREAT MAN.

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Posted by D. Frances
a resident of another community
on Nov 15, 2010 at 5:43 pm

D. Frances is a registered user.

I had the honor of meeting Ben DeBolt when Daniel brought him into the Voice office a few years ago. He was the coolest guy in the world, and seemed like he'd live forever.

I'm also touched by the fact that Daniel got to write his grandpa's obituary. He did a beautiful job of it, too.

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Posted by Rick Cuevas
a resident of another community
on Nov 17, 2010 at 7:36 pm

My family has been friends with Ben since the 60's, mostly through the West Bay Opera connection. Ben was a top-notch guy, and we will never forget him. Sincerely, The Anthony & Marie Cuevas Family, Palo Alto.

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Posted by Lana Kimball
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 17, 2010 at 9:25 pm

I was privileged to teach first and second grade under Ben at Castro School in the 80's. He was larger than life in the children's eyes for sure. The students loved him and so did I.
He was relaxed and approachable , but always in control and in charge. He was a great leader and a wonderful role model for kids. I shall never forget Ben and we will all deeply miss him.
I remember my husband , Ron, (then a Mtn. View Fire Captain), used to bring the fire engine onto the Castro playground dressed up like Santa Claus while playing Xmas tunes on his saxophone. He and Ben would visit each classroom and hand out candy canes. The kids loved it. I will never forget Ben.


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Posted by Whitney Campbell
a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2010 at 12:04 am

I sang with Ben for three decades with West Bay Opera, and served with him on the board of the H&M Holt scholarship foundation.

He was truely one of the 'greatest generation'; no matter how the years go by I'll always feel he was our 'Adult Supervision' and in our current turmoil wonder how we'll get by without leaders of his stature, in spirit more so than his {admitted great) height. Whit.

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Posted by Brad Hogle
a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2010 at 8:39 am

So sorry to learn of this and my sympathies to you, Daniel, and all of your family. My dad and your grandfather taught together for many years and I was privileged to have him as my principal at Bubb School. I still remember as I'm sure lots of students do, him playing the guitar and us singing "Today's the day... election day...". And when my dad passed away several years ago, Ben gave the eulogy. We've lost a great person in the community.

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Posted by Norene Hogle
a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2010 at 4:05 pm

My son, Brad, just sent this to me. My sincere sympathy goes out to you, Daniel, and to Chris, Geoff, Carol and all the rest of your family. Ben and my late husband, DeWitt, grew up together in the Santa Maria area and were friends. It was fortunate they both ended up in Mtn. View School District where this friendship could continue. Ben was all the things everyone else has mentioned. He was indeed "larger than life" by his size and all of his other accomplishments. He related marvelously to children and adults, alike. He helped me greatly in the service my family had for DeWitt in 1998 in Mtn. View; I shall never forget that. It is a sad time for all of us, but his spirit lives on in the hearts of many people.

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Posted by Joel Marcus
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm

I just found out about the passing of my old friend, Ben Debolt. It was my honor and priviledge to know and work with Ben when I was Dean of Students at the Old Awalt High School, now Mouintain View High School. Ben's two sons, Geoff and Chris were also students there. Ben was not only my good friend but I looked up to him as a mentor. He was so kind and generous to everyone he met. There was never a time he wouldn't be there to help me when I had a question or problem about either school or at times, his boys. He helped me form the Awalt Motorcylce Club. This gave a lot of our students a chance to go to Hollister and ride and bond together. I have never heard anyone say anything negative about Ben, as there was never anything negative about the man. We will all miss him. May he rest in peace. So many people were touched by who he was,what he believed in and the way he led his life. I will forever be grateful for his friendship and will remember him always.

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Posted by PA Native
a resident of another community
on Feb 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I was in Mr. DeBolt's class in the 50's at Green Gables in Palo Alto. I remember that he was a nice man who used to entertain the class by inviting us to play mock "What's My Line" complete with "sign in please". He played the show's host and I remember that it was lots of fun (unlike many of the rote learning activities of the day which weren't that much fun!). I am sorry for the family's loss. I have good memories of him.

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Posted by CappySings
a resident of another community
on Mar 21, 2013 at 12:20 am

Thanks to this man's HOLT scholarship fund, I have been able to take my career in opera to the next level. I did a Google search to find out more about the man who left behind such a generous donation and love for the arts, and I am so honored and happy to have come across this newsletter! Thank you to Benjamin and his family for everything you do!

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Posted by carl martineau
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2013 at 9:18 pm

i was reading a program bio
for a symphony performance
in the east bay tonight and
it mentioned that the soloist
had performed with west bay opera ..
upon reading this
i imediately remembered
ben debolt who had also
performed with west bay ..
after googling his name
i came across this obituary
and memorial page ..
elsewhere on the web
i found that his wife jacquetta ..
who i knew as joice ..
had preceded him
in dearly departing
a few years earlier ..
i met both of them
in the spring of 1972 ..
i was 19 then ..
i met joice first ..
she picked me up hitchhiking
on el camino real
southwest of embarcadero
in palo alto one day ..
she was very kind and social ..
and some time quite soon
had me over to their home
in mountain view ..
ben was always very kind
and friendly ..
we discussed classical music a lot ..
and both of us admired
edwin "ted" flath very much ..
ben and joice were both
very kind .. open minded ..
open hearted people
when i knew them ..
it 's very sad to find out
they 're both gone ..

carl martineau
berkeley california

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