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Ben Evangelista

Gardener, WWII veteran, family man

 

Bernardino “Ben” Evangelista, a longtime resident of Ontario, Upland and Claremont, died peacefully on January 15, 2017.  He was 94 years old.

He was born in Poggio, Italy in 1922, the only child of Teresa and Vincenzo Evangelista. He came to America with his parents as a small boy and grew up in Winnetka, Illinois near Chicago. Mr. Evangelista was drafted in World War II and served honorably in the US Army Infantry in Europe. He notably fought in Italy and participated in the invasion of Green Beach in southern France.

During the war, he visited his best friend’s family in Cervaro, Italy to bring food and supplies. There he met and fell in love with his friend’s sister, Domenica. He married her in Italy before the war ended, then brought her back to America. The Evangelistas moved to southern California, settling in Ontario where they raised two daughters, and brought Ben’s parents to live with them. 

Mr. Evangelista had a great reputation as an extremely hardworking craftsman in the construction trades. He helped build or restore many local buildings, including the historic stone building at the corner of Foothill and Indian Hill boulevards. He was an avid gardener and a wonderful cook. In his later years, he became a health and fitness advocate—and a dedicated fan of Dr. Oz. He was in great shape for his age and lived independently in Ontario and Upland until he moved to Claremont Place in 2012, where he enjoyed many friends. His family will remember him as a patriot, who served his country and loved life.  

His loving wife Domenica predeceased him in 1980. He is survived by two daughters, Teresa “Terri” Shaner (Terry) of Claremont and Cathy Reardon (Mike) of Lake Forest, Illinois, by three grandchildren, Kristi Galo (Shaner), Michael Shaner and Laura Reardon, and one great-grandson, Lucas Shaner.   

Funeral services will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 19 at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, located at 435 Berkeley Ave. in Claremont.