The remarkable life of Benjamin Carson Tait came to an abrupt end on Sunday, November 8, 2020 in a tragic automobile accident. Ben was born on February 4, 2000 in Provo, Utah. He spent his early years in Washington state. From the beginning, everyone could see that he had an active and creative mind. He would build elaborate Lego creations and loved to be active at preschool, soccer, and any playground. He was so active that he needed stitches on his face about 5 times during his toddler years.
At the age of five, Ben moved overseas with our family to spend three years in Stuttgart, Germany. Ben started Kindergarten there, surrounded by children fluent in German. Ben picked up the language quickly and continued in German public schools for first and second grade. He excelled in his studies in school, although he did have some advantage in his English class. In Germany, Ben played a lot of soccer and began formal training on the recorder, which was the first instrument he studied in depth. Ben loved to ride the trains in Germany and explore new places on our travels. He was baptized at our ward there, surrounded by loving friends, a few months before we moved back to the USA.
From 2008 to 2018, Ben’s home was in Bloomington, Indiana. He continued to excel in school, taking on challenging coursework at every opportunity and completing his homework with ease. Ben was introduced to Science Olympiad in 7th grade and this became his main extracurricular activity for the next six years. His room would transform into a workshop each winter as he constructed Rube Goldberg devices, hovercraft, mouse trap cars, robots, and other things to prepare for competitions. He spent long hours with his teams at school, often missing dinner, to prepare and practice. His efforts paid off with many medals for top-level performances at every level, including gold medals at Indiana state competitions. Ben was also very active in our church youth group and in Boy Scouts, participating in frequent hikes and campouts and earning the rank of Eagle scout with 46 merit badges. Ben ran track and cross-country for three years and continued to run for exercise.
Ben continued recorder lessons in Bloomington and sang in a children’s choir, before shifting his attention to the piano and trumpet. He had wonderful teachers and band directors who challenged and encouraged him. He enjoyed playing with the band, marching band, and in solo and ensemble performances. Music truly became a love of his life. It was his way of expressing emotion and relieving stress. When he arrived home from high school each day, he would usually go straight to the piano. He loved to play classical music and jazz. He also loved hymns and jumped at an opportunity to take organ lessons. He served as an organist at church during his last year of high school. He also played organ for several congregations during his mission, and in his student congregation at ASU this fall.
After graduating from high school with honors, Ben served a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Serving a mission had been his life-long goal, and we were thrilled to know he would return to Germany. Ben loved serving the German people, as well as refugees and immigrants from all over the world. His vibrant and abiding faith in Christ blessed the lives of the missionaries he served with, and the people that he taught. He had assignments to train newly arrived missionaries several times during his mission and was a caring and reliable companion. Ben loved this time of personal growth and devoted service. Every report we had from him by email or Skype call was full of happiness and optimism, even when the work was almost completely shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the summer of 2020, Ben was home with our family in Bloomington. We feel so grateful now for those precious months. With the ongoing pandemic, we had a lot of time together as a family and saw how much Ben had grown during his mission, especially in his ability to express himself verbally. He was caring and attentive to each of his siblings. He taught piano lessons to Will and Sam. He played games, talked, improvised music, and was truly present and engaged for Ivin, Lucy, Josh, Will, and Sam. He built a beautiful, new piano bench. Ben worked two jobs during the summer, some days working 16 hours in a single day to save up as much as he could for college. We missed Ben’s presence immediately when he moved away to school.
Ben was thrilled to attend Arizona State University because of the opportunity to be a part of a major engineering program and to socialize with other bright, young people. He was not disappointed with either of these goals. He had a large, active, caring, and fun group of friends that filled much of his time with creative activities; often, they enjoyed making music together. Ben was mainly enrolled in classes in the freshman engineering and honors curriculum, but also found time for a German literature class, a job as a teaching assistant in the math department, and two classes at the Institute of Religion. He joined a jazz repertoire and also served as accompanist to a service outreach choir. He was busy, active, and very happy, especially when spending time with his dear friends. We are so grateful that the last moments of his life were full of joy and laughter with people that he loved.
Ben had a tremendous spirit and a deep and abiding faith in the Savior Jesus Christ. He shared his feelings about the gospel with many people in Germany and with family and friends at home. He loved God, which was reflected in his goodness and kindness toward those around him. We are comforted in knowing, as Ben did, that we will be reunited as a family in the eternities and that this separation, though terrible and painful now, is only temporary. Ben is survived by his parents, Steven and Leslie, and five siblings, Ivin, Lucy, Josh, Will, and Sam, all of Bloomington, Indiana. He is also survived by grandparents, Steven and Cathy Tait (Mesa, Arizona) and Garth and Katrina Baker (Orem, Utah), great-grandfather, Clayton Williams (Salt Lake City, Utah), great-grandmother, VeRene Tait (Fredonia, Arizona), and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Funeral service will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 2411 E. 2nd St. in Bloomington, Indiana on Saturday, November 21st at 11:00 am, Eastern Standard Time. Due to current restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person attendance at the funeral is very limited and will be by invitation only, however, the family welcomes all to join the service online at this link: https://iu.zoom.us/j/86755363335 . An outdoor family visitation will be held from 9:00 am – 10:30 am on the back lawn of the church. Masks and social distancing are required. All are invited to come and greet the family during this time.
Benjamin’s body will be laid to rest at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery in southern Utah.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the “Ben Tait Memorial Scholarship” at the Foundation for Monroe County Community Schools, 315 North Drive, Bloomington, Indiana 47401. Donations may also be made online at https://mccsfoundation.org/2020/11/16/ben-tait-memorial-scholarship/ . The scholarship will be awarded annually to a college-bound senior at Ben’s high school, who has demonstrated outstanding musicianship in band and excellent scholarship.
The family is collecting stories and memories of moments with Ben from friends and family throughout his life as a keepsake book, especially for his parents and siblings. If you have a story or photos to share with the family, please send those to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Each of us learn of each other in so many ways. Ben and I spent several hours working together. We had time to talk and shared many moments. I found it interesting a young man and old man could socialize in close contact working together. Never a moment was lost in mundane conversation.
Prayers for peace to your family.
Steve and Leslie, my heart breaks to know that your sweet family is experiencing such a heartbreaking loss. I never had the honor to meet your son, but recall the immediate smile that came to Steve’s face when talking of him. May your memories and faith bring you comfort in the days ahead.
Steve, I am very sorry for loss!! Without the Church it would be unbearable. Our families prayers are with you.
We are terribly sorry for your loss. You and your family have our deepest sympathy and are in our prayers.
So happy to have learned more about your incredible young man! What a blessing he has been to your family and what a rich life he lived! Our love and prayers are with you as well as our broken hearts.
To: The Tait Family
I was absolutely devastated to learn minutes ago of the tragic passing of your dear son and family member—Benjamin Tait. I only had the honor and privilege to meet Ben on just one occasion. It was in the lobby of the Bloomington South atrium after an honor’s award ceremony. I remember Ben as kind, friendly, modest and someone who tried to make a difference in his community. In my opinion, he truly exemplified an extraordinary human being the likes of which all young Americans should aspire to emulate.
To: The Tait Family
I was absolutely devastated to learn minutes ago of the tragic passing of your dear son and family member—Benjamin Tait. I only had the honor and privilege to meet Ben on just one occasion. It was in the lobby of the Bloomington High School South atrium after an honor’s award ceremony. I remember Ben as kind, friendly, modest and someone who tried to make a difference in his community. In my opinion, he truly exemplified an extraordinary human being the likes of which all young Americans should aspire to emulate.