We all know special folks who impact our lives, and I have been blessed with family members and close friends who have influenced and even changed my life. One of these special people was Ben (Buddy) Golden, who recently passed away.

He and his dear wife, Gloria, shared so much in common with my husband Marty and me that we often teased we could finish each other’s sentences. There have been rough times and fun times. We experienced our babies growing up, raising their own families, and sharing their problems and joy with us. We faced changes in life circumstances, businesses, and homes, too. We always had spirited, though in agreement, political discussions, and we enjoyed sports, music, and theater together. Most of all, we have shared love of people, all cultures, a strong faith, and an appreciation of nature.

Buddy Golden

Buddy followed in his family footsteps and became a pharmacist. His true passion was photography, and he expressed his creativity through this medium, which he perfected. The images he interpreted in his photo lens displayed more than just human beings. He captured their personalities, and even their souls. His interesting photos of inanimate objects, such as old doors or staircases, almost brought them to life. His frightening photos of the foreboding gates surrounding one of the Holocaust prisons conjured in one’s mind the hell that existed there.

It was his depth of thought and love of people that he expressed in these masterful images. His photographs were exhibited, and his sensitive books which received high acclaim, were featured at universities, libraries, and galleries throughout the country. His Chicago exhibit took place at the Cultural Center.

I have so many sweet memories of our times together. We had amusing traditions, such as dining on Chinese food at Christmas and spaghetti dinners at our home between bowl games on New Year’s Day. We joined Buddy and Gloria when they decided to become health nuts, using only specific culinary ingredients and organic foods. However, I must admit when we took many an evening stroll in River Forest we would top our excursions with Johnnie’s Italian lemon ice, forgetting our diets.

I remember many times Gloria and I would have to re-direct our travels, whether Buddy or Marty was driving. They would be so deep in conversation on the way that they’d be unaware of where we were. It was worthy of a good laugh when we found ourselves lost or backing out of a one-way street. One of my most pleasurable memories was of the days we spent on the porch of their Michigan summer home. It was perched on a hill in the treetops, overlooking the lake, the ideal place to try to solve the world’s problems.

Buddy had an amazing perspective on what was important in life, which included a balance of responsibilities and a sense of humor. When our first grandchild was born early morning on Nov. 15, 1975, Marty and I wanted to immediately share the news with Buddy and Gloria. Buddy’s early-dawn response was, “That’s great news, but tell that daughter of yours her future babies should be born at more reasonable hours.” Over the years, we shared more laughs than tears, and our relationship remained close no matter where we traveled or moved.

Our friendship remained so strong because both Marty and Buddy shared mutual standards by which we lived. They left legacies of good deeds, respect for all peoples, and true caring for others. I will always be grateful to Buddy for his warm friendship, his wise advice, and his delightful sense of humor. I know a part of him will always be with me, as my dear Marty has been. Their hope and belief in the best of humanity will keep me optimistic about the future of our nation and its people.

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