Benjaman G. Oliver, 79, of Twin Falls, died Sunday, December 23, 2018 at home.
Benny, as he was known, was born to Rolland and Mary Oliver in Doyle Township, Wisconsin on February 13, 1939. He was raised on a dairy farm near Rice Lake, Wisconsin and he was the fourth child of six. He had 4 sisters and 1 brother. Ben’s sisters remember him as being the most mischievous of the kids, always doing something he shouldn’t be. Although, he grew up on a farm his real love was racing and fixing up old cars and anybody’s car that needed attention! Ben was fascinated with machinery and how they worked. When he was a young boy he took the motor off his mother’s new washer machine (a luxury at the time) and attached it to the manual push lawn mower. He wasn’t fond of mowing the lawn and was determined to find a faster more efficient way of doing it. Needless to say, Benny created the first power lawn mower! He also may have built the first powered bicycle, but that’s another story to be told!
When Ben was 19 he enlisted in the Air Force on November 5, 1959. He was an Airman Second Class stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. During his time in the military he served time in many places and often spoke of his time in Germany, Japan and France. He was an incredibly patriotic man who loved God and his country more than anything.
After the military, Ben moved to Long Beach, CA to follow his passion of cars. He worked many jobs as a handyman, electrician, carpenter and as a car mechanic building race cars. On the weekends he would race cars in the NASCAR Southwest Tour Circuit racing all over Southern California. He often would hang out at Ascot Raceway in Gardenia, CA where he met Alice, his wife. Alice was also a race car driver and she caught the eye of Ben, most likely because she wrecked her car! Ben, being the gentleman that he was, offered to let her drive his #4 NASCAR race car, which, of course, she eventually wrecked.
In 1970 Ben and Alice began dating. Alice had 4 children previously and in 1972 Ben and Alice had a beautiful daughter, Cynthia. Ben embraced all the children. He considered all the kids as his own and provided the best he could for all of them. In 1979 Ben and Alice got married in Anaheim, CA. In all total, they were together 47 years. That is 47 years of cars, cars and even more cars!
Ben was a talented electrician who eventually worked most of his career at Disneyland. During his career at Disneyland he worked on rides, changed light bulbs and even invented a few things. His claim to fame was his battle with The People Mover. It was a ride notorious for breaking down, much to the chagrin of the park visitors. Ben, being the super electrician that he was, located the problem and built a metal piece that eventually fixed the forever break-down problem. Disneyland recognized his innovation, something that he was so proud of, and, of course, didn’t mind telling you about his expertise. Those who loved the ride, finally enjoyed the ride without its frequent breakdowns. If you were to visit Disneyland today and visit the Main
Street Cinema, Ben left his imprint there. Ben thought the stairway lights should have Mickey Mouse ears instead of just standard lights, so he built a prototype of his idea and Disney decided to use them. They can be seen today as you enter the Main Street Cinema.
In 2004 Ben retired from Disneyland and he and Alice moved from Anaheim, CA to Twin Falls, ID. Ben wanted to spend his retirement years working on his dream car, a customized 1941 Mercury, that he started in California. In 2006 Ben suffered a stroke that left his left arm paralyzed but that did not stop him from working on his cars and enjoying his retirement. Ben was very active here in Twin Falls with various car clubs, car shops, local business and restaurants he frequented. If you said Ben Oliver’s name in town, they would assuredly know him.
Ben was a very loving, gentle, caring man who wanted everyone to be happy. He loved Ford Racing, the American Flag and Bald Eagles which are all symbolic of his patriotism. His faith was unwavering and he strived to live the best Christian life. It’s symbolic that he passed away during the Christmas season. He will be missed and celebrated today and every day through all the lives he has touched.
He was dearly loved by his wife, 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, 3 great-great grandchildren and many friends. He was a spiritual man whose strong Christian faith was the foundation of his character. He was a very creative, innovative hard-working man who wanted to provide the best for his family.
A viewing will be held from 5:00p.m. until 7:00p.m., Thursday, December 27, 2018 at Serenity Funeral Chapel Life Celebration Center and Cremation Services of Idaho, 502 2nd Ave. North, Twin Falls. Parking is available at Magic Valley High School across the street. A funeral service will be held at 2:00p.m., Friday, December 28, 2018 at the funeral chapel. A funeral service will also be held at Tillman Riverside Mortuary, Riverside, California at 11:30a.m., Wednesday, January 2, 2018 followed by burial with Military Honors at Riverside National Cemetery, Riverside.
Condolences may be shared at www.serenityfuneralchapel.com.