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Benjamin Warnsby

23 October 1929 ~ 9 July 2023

Benjamin Warnsby

Benjamin Warnsby was oldest of three sons of Benjamin and Edith Warnsby born and raised in Lincoln, England. Growing up he travelled the famed Lincolnshire countryside fishing, birdnesting, and poaching. He made lifelong friends with Brian Fairhurst and Mal Pate. During the war, his father served in the Royal Airforce. Regularly spending time on base with his dad, Ben of talked often of the heroism of the Bomber Command men he met.

Ben was a hard worker from a young age, helping his uncle harvest potatoes. Later he would deliver large baskets of meat up the many step hills of Lincoln. At 14, to contribute to the war effort, he went to work at various power stations in Lincoln, rising to the position of assistant control engineer.

After the war, Ben did two-year National Service with the Royal Engineers. This saw him serve on the Sea Forts which were now staffed by a mere five men when they were originally intended for over a one thousand. Ben was the only engineer on these forts leaving him responsible for maintaining the critical electrical systems. He once personally refused to allow the Duke of Edinburgh aboard.

After his military service, Ben was looking for adventure. It was either the Rhodesian Police or a power plant in Canada. He chose Canada, crossing an ocean and a continent with his friend Mal. Mal settled in Vancouver for a time and Ben was to join him after a short-term job with Yukon Consolidated Gold.

Ben landed in Dawson on 6 May 1953, in terrible weather that almost sent him back to Vancouver. With a job in hand at the North Fork Power Plant, he decided to stay for the six-month contract. It was at North Fork that he met his lifelong friend and business partner Mike Sutter. Ben rarely left camp in order to save money to go into business, enjoying hunting and distance education courses. While frugal, he always had a nice car including a Thunderbird that the Duke of Edinburgh used in 1959.

In 1961, Ben and Mike were able to buy the river boat Brainstorm. They began running cargo to Old Crow both for the Government and Joe Netro’s store. On these trips, Ben became lifelong friends with many of the Han and Gwitchin crew he employed, including Donald Frost and Percy Henry. As anyone who knew Ben can tell you, he had many adventures. In 2015, Ben was recognized as Yukon Transportation Pioneer of the Year for this work.

Ben was not content to just relax during the winter. In winter he also tended bar, owned and operated the movie theatre, and owned the DCW store with Sid Carr and Hank Dubois, just to name a few.

In the 1970’s Ben and Mike started mining on Hunker Creek before closing up shop in 1995. In 2015, he was honoured with the Robert Leckie Award for mine reclamation for cleaning up an abandoned mine at Sixty Mile.

On Friday the 13th of November 1970, Ben married the love of his life Loretta. The date did not bother him, he was happy to save some money because of others superstition. It proved in fact to be a lucky date for him, leading to over fifty happy years of marriage and a son Bruce.

Even in old age Ben continued to work and walked the Millennium Trail daily until he entered Copper Ridge Place in 2021. Even at Copper Ridge Place, Ben was well known for rarely, if ever, missing an outing, event, or activity. When there was not one, he would be seen walking or wheeling around the ward visiting people.

Like his brothers, Ben was also a lifelong lover of dancing. From a young lad at the Drill Hall in Lincoln to dancing to Rod Stewart at family events to dancing at Copper Ridge he always enjoyed a good dance.

Ben went to join his beloved wife Loretta in the early morning hours of 9 July 2023 shortly after a last phone call with Bruce. While he is no longer with us, his larger-than-life character will always be remembered.



If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!


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