October 19, 1937 — May 21, 2019
QUEENSBURY and MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — Benjamin L. Aronson, local businessman, devoted husband, “father,” “grandfather” and friend to many, died unexpectedly on May 21, 2019 at Glens Falls Hospital from cardiac arrest.
Ben was born in Glens Falls to Milton and Rose (Goldman) Aronson. He was educated in the public schools and graduated as a member of the Glens Falls High School class of 1955. Following high school, Ben was inducted into the United States Army Reserve Unit based in Glens Falls, and he trained and served on active duty at military bases in Arkansas and on the east coast. His military specialty was land surveying and measurement in an artillery unit where he served both active and reserve duty for a period of six years, eventually obtaining an honorable discharge for his valued service to his country as an enlisted man.
Ben was a lifelong member and supporter of his synagogue Congregation Shaaray Tefila in Glens Falls.
In his earliest employment, while still in high school, Ben worked with his father, Milt, and his grandfather, Abraham “Abe” Aronson, traveling far and wide in the north country across Washington County and into Vermont, along the Lake Champlain regions, purchasing for slaughter beef cattle to be processed and distributed for wholesale and retail distribution. For a period of time, the business had a meat processing and packing plant along upper Sherman Avenue in Queensbury.
As a young man, Ben obtained employment at Finch Pruyn in Glens Falls, starting out as a common laborer, where he eventually worked his way up to a supervisory position on the paper production line. Ben also for a time, worked with Jeckel Honda Motorcycle in sales and service. Ben then saw an opportunity to join his family meat packing business, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, and he was instrumental in the creation and expansion of what became known as Double A Provisions in Glens Falls and Queensbury. The expanding business offered wholesale and retail meats, poultry and seafood, frozen vegetables and paper products, which served the needs of many north country restaurants, institutional facilities and school cafeterias in the area. By the time Ben retired from Double A Provisions around 2005, the business had over 50 employees and it was a multimillion dollar enterprise, famous for its quality foods and efficient distribution. Even in retirement, Ben remained generous with his support and encouragement to the benefit of his former employees, who he always considered family.
Upon his retirement, Ben and his wife, Sharon Aronson, created a new lifestyle along the sunny shores of the Gulf of Mexico, spending each winter in their beautiful home along the water at Marco Island, Florida. Ben and Sharon enjoyed the climate and thrived on the gulf sports of boating and fishing. Despite the beauty of Florida and its suitable winter climate, each May through November Ben and Sharon returned “home” to the Glens Falls/Queensbury area, which he loved, just to be back with friends and nearby relatives.
Ben enjoyed an active retirement “messing around” with collector cars, classic vehicles and restored pickup trucks. Within his collection was his pride and joy, a 1964 Corvette for which he was the original owner and his “Vette” remained in original “pristine” condition. It remained an award winner whenever he showed the car. He drove it with determination and a mile-wide smile. Ben was a member of the Antique Automobile Club of America, the A.C.E. Car Club, the Saratoga Auto Museum, The Cool Cruisers of Florida and the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America. When asked what his favorite collector car might be, Ben’s answer was always “my next one”.
Winters in Marco Island involved boating and fishing along the Gulf Coast of Florida, both offshore and within the Ten Thousand Islands area. Ben carefully calculated the best fishing spots, plotted and marked them on his GPS and they remain forever a secret, only known to Ben and God. For him, it was always most enjoyable when Captain Ben could take kids, grandkids or north country “landlubbers” out for a day of fishing. Captain Ben could find the big fish; he had the unique combination of talent and patience to teach novice fishermen how to hook the big ones, reel them in and land them aboard the boat. Captain Ben had a “big boat” for deep water fishing out on the Gulf of Mexico and a “small boat” for skimming along the shallow waters amongst the mangrove islands and bays for a day well spent. Ben was an active member of the Sportfishing Club of Marco Island and a fierce competitor in many fishing contests, often the winner for the biggest fish, the first fish and the maximum catch. Now that Ben has passed, it may be possible to suggest that for a while the fish amongst the mangrove islands and in the deeper waters off Marco Island are much safer from being caught by such an expert angler.
Ben was a founding and sustaining member of the exclusive Bean’s Country Store morning coffee group, where all matters of trivia, politics and foolishness were discussed with enthusiasm.
He was predeceased by his parents, Milton and Rose Aronson; his brother, Edward Aronson; his sister, Karen Aronson; his grandparents, Abraham and Selena Aronson; his favorite uncle, Harry Goldman; and Ben’s little dogs, Leo and Arthur.
Ben was a devoted husband, survived by his wife, Sharon Aronson and her children, a son, Eric Smith and his wife, Rachel; a daughter, Michele Fee and her husband, Michael; and a daughter, Robin Hutchinson and her husband, Peter. Ben is also survived by seven beloved grandchildren, Lindsey Smith, Jordan Smith, Natasha Fee, Alexi Fee, Jonah Hutchinson, Quinn Hutchinson and Lilly Hutchinson; his beloved aunt, Ruth Goldman; many loving nieces, nephews and cousins; and his four-legged companion, Frankie.
Graveside services will be held 1:30 p.m. on Friday, May 24, at Shaaray Tefila Cemetery, Media Drive, Queensbury, with a mourners meal to follow at Congregation Shaaray Tefila, 68 Bay St., Glens Falls.
The immediate family will sit Shiva at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, at Congregation Shaaray Tefila and all family and friends are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Ben’s memory may be made to Congregation Shaaray Tefila or Sisterhood, 68 Bay St., Glens Falls; or Unconditional Love Pet Rescue, 129 County Road 6031, Green Forest, Arkansas 72638.
Arrangements are under the care of the Regan Denny Stafford Funeral Home, 53 Quaker Road, Queensbury, and those who wish may make online condolences by visiting sbfuneralhome.com.