On Wednesday, November 2, 2022, Benedict “Benny” Agripino Petraitis joined his many family members and friends who left us too soon.
We respectfully request that no one arrive at the funeral home prior to the posted visitation times, so as not to intrude on the family’s private time.
Family and friends are invited to the memorial visitation in the Kowalski Funeral Home, 515 Roselle Street, Linden on Sunday, December 4, 2022, from 2:00 – 6:00PM. At 4:00PM during the visitation there will be a prayer service offered by Pastor Joseph Gratzel, a dear friend of Ben’s. As we conclude the visitation the U.S. Air Force will present their Military Honors detail in the funeral home at 5:30PM. The inurnment of Ben’s cremains in the family crypt in Rosedale Cemetery in Linden will be private. In the spirit of honoring Ben, the family suggests that in lieu of flowers or plants, you please make a donation in Ben’s name to the Disabled American Veterans, or to the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. This way, you’re helping others like Ben who still need the support.
Ben, the son of the late Yvette Theresa Cardinoza Petraitis and the late Robert William Petraitis, was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He resided in Linden, New Jersey for twenty years and after his military service, Ben lived in Delaware for a few years before moving back to New Jersey.
Growing up in Linden, Ben was one of the “Tremley kids”. He loved watching & playing sports and throughout his life, Ben was always a diehard Mets, Giants and Rangers fan. As a child of the 80’s Ben’s musical enjoyment came from listening to hard rock like Kiss, Ratt, Whitesnake, Ted Nugent and others. He also never met a dog that he didn’t like!
Life took Ben in many directions throughout the years. He proudly served in the U.S. Air Force for 15 years as a civil engineer, where Ben loved being known as one of the “Dirt Boyz”. During his service period, Ben was stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi, Korea, Langley, Virginia and Dover, Delaware; and he was deployed 3 times to the Middle East.
After his exit from the military, Ben went to work for the Delaware Department of Corrections for a few years. However, being a true Jersey boy, he would later relocate back home, where Ben ended up working first as a counselor and then as a trainer at places like 21 Plus and YCS. Over the next 10 years or so, Ben would use his ability to relate to people with challenges to provide guidance and services to those who needed it. During this time, he also proudly went back to school. Ben attended Mercer County Community College, where he not only earned his Associates Degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Psychology, but Ben graduated with honors.
In more recent years, Ben found himself going back to the VA to find yet another path. While trying to continue his education at Kean University, he would end his journey working and living at the Lyons VA Medical Center in Basking Ridge.
It can honestly be said that most who knew Ben loved or liked him. He was that kind of guy- he had a wry grin and an easy laugh. He was a smooth talker who would strike up a conversation with anybody and he could find a way to make a personal connection with almost everyone. Those of us closest to him understood that Ben was also troubled and imperfect; and he didn’t always make it easy to be in his life. But we tried to love Ben anyway.
Ben is survived by his two sons, Brett Petraitis and Drew Petraitis and his fiancé, Holly Nanan; his brother, Robert W. Petraitis Jr. and his wife, Mary Ann, his grandson, Dean Petraitis and his uncles, aunts, cousins and friends.
If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse, Ben’s family wants you to know that you’re NOT alone and that there IS help. A good starting place to find resources is http://www.SAMHSA.gov