From the desk of Ginger Bell, Director of Family & Alumni Relations:
Ben Lauderdale was an educator. Though he retired from education at least 3 times over his lifetime, he was still an educator when he went to his Heavenly Home last week. It was just who he was. He taught in schools, taught others how to teach in schools, led schools and finally got to start a school…from scratch!
Ben had retired for the second time when Steve Dement contacted him about serving on the founding Board of Trustees for The Brook Hill School. Ben’s reputation as an educator was above reproach and he was respected by the community as an educator extraordinaire. It was a natural choice to seek Ben’s input on this vision being realized by Steve.
When the first choice for headmaster was unable to meet the demands of starting a new school, it didn’t take the board long to realize Ben was the obvious choice to lay the foundation for Brook Hill, literally and figuratively. His career had been marked by long days and nights working to insure his students, parents, and teachers were giving their best. So, the hours invested in raising funds, writing curriculum, creating applications, overseeing construction, admitting new students and hiring a faculty to implement the great education plan was nothing to him.
During the middle of the first year of the school, Ben’s wife, Joyce, was told her cancer had returned and Ben made the decision to step down as headmaster to spend time with Joyce. He said she had played second fiddle to his career in education for too long, and it was time to give her his full attention. What a noble idea.
Shortly thereafter, Joyce noted she thought maybe his devotion to Brook Hill would wane just a bit once he left the day to day operations, but it never did. She said their daily morning devotions always began with a prayer for Brook Hill. Even during his last stay in the hospital, Ben’s blessing over lunch began with a prayer for God’s work at Brook Hill! Though he wasn’t a direct part of everyday life at the school after that first year, he was always connected either through praying daily for the school, making contacts with benefactors, regularly attending the Fine Arts programs (which he absolutely treasured) and a variety of sporting events at which he would get quite vocal!
Ben was a man of detail, a snappy dresser, a wit, and a friend. He will be missed, but what a legacy he has left on this earth! Just pause for a moment, look around, and picture the beautiful pasture land he saw when he first moved on campus to the log cabin then look around and see all that The Brook Hill School is today. Ben Lauderdale was forever grateful Steve Dement gave him the opportunity to have a hand in the vision that is now The Brook Hill School. We are forever grateful Ben gave us his leadership, devotion, love, and prayers that will impact generations of students for Christ and His Kingdom!