Joshua â€œ Joshâ€ Ancil Benge, 35, of West Chicago, Ill., formerly of Elburn, died unexpectedly at his home on Friday, Aug. 14, 2009.
He was born May 31, 1974, the son of Victor and Melinda (Benge) Nelson in St. Charles.
He grew up in Elburn and attended Kaneland schools. In 2004, the family moved to a home in West Chicago.
Josh was an exceptionally good tow truck driver, gaining access to locked cars in mere seconds. Later he was a concrete tester for PSC and also worked on lobster boats with Wade Thomas in Rhode Island.
He was a member of the Aurora Land Archers for a time.
Josh loved the outdoors and spent every year hunting deer in Spooner, Wis., during the â€œNelson Family Weekend.â€ He also loved to fish for anything that would bite. Josh often spent time on Kress Creek in the back of the house but his favorite fishing hole was Smith Lake in Wisconsin.
A lover of animals, Josh kept a special place in his heart for manâ€™s best friend, and Timber, Chance, Diablo, and Chica were fond of him as well. Reptiles also held a top spot in his life, and over the years he cared for two iguanas, Judas and Stoner, measuring five to six feet in length, a boa constrictor named Humphrey, a bi-polar lizard named Larry and a corn snake named Lenny.
Josh loved to play his music often and loud. His iPod was filled to the top with many kinds of music, but a song list wasnâ€™t complete without a number of his favorite Grateful Dead songs.
In his younger years, Josh was known to take his grandpaâ€™s â€˜69 Chevy truck (that he painted purple) complete with a rebuilt engine and race on local roads, avoiding the attention of local police the best that he could.
Josh was larger than life to his family and friends. When he developed health complications as a boy, the doctors didnâ€™t expect him to make his 30th birthday. Despite their predictions or maybe because of them, Josh lived every day like it was his last. He surpassed their predictions by five years but packed enough memories and stories to last two lifetimes. His family and friends have only Joshâ€™s memory to fill the void he left behind. Though gone too soon, he will never be forgotten.
He now leaves his parents, Victor and Melinda; two sisters, Stormy (Cele Diaz) Benge and Lindsay (Antonio Jimenez) Nelson; five nieces and nephews; Kristopher Benge, Emily Benge, Noel Diaz, Magdalena P. Diaz and Tyler Rose, and a family of lifetime friends, including his â€œlittle firecracker,â€ Mary Rose.
He now joins both his maternal and paternal grandparents, his cousin and partner in crime, Wade Thomas, his uncle Eugene Spurgin, cousin Scott Kiefer, and his loving dog Chance, who preceded him in death.
Visitation will be from 3 to 5 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 20, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn. A funeral to celebrate his life will follow visitation at 5:30 p.m. Private family interment will follow cremation at a later date.
A memorial has been established in his name. Checks may be made to the â€œJosh Bengeâ€ and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.