Benjamin Charles Kays

July 21, 1919 - May 10, 2019
Benjamin Charles Kays


Benjamin Charles Kays, 99, of Wilmington, North Carolina passed away peacefully at Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCareCenter on Friday, May 10, 2019.

Benjamin is preceded in death by his devoted wife, Mary Caroline Kays of 78 years, his parents, Benjamin Vernon and Beatrice May, his brother Richard Charles Kays and his adoring aunt, Grace Stringer.

Ben was a loving father to Benjamin Thomas Kays and wife Claudia of Charleston, SC and Charles Richard Kays and wife Carol of Wilmington, NC and the devoted grandfather of Trinette Kays James and husband Brian and Benjamin Charles Kays II and wife Marlena, Laura Grace and Lilly Katherine Kays and Tadd McKellar. Additionally, Ben was blessed with six great-grandchildren, Brylen and Jordyn James, Christian, Landon, and Benjamin Kays and TJ McKellar. Ben also leaves behind his devoted and loving caregiver, Gloria Fullwood, who became his friend and confidant in his final stages of life.

The impact of the Great Depression strongly shaped Ben’s character in childhood and continued to define his decisions throughout his life. Born in Ipava, Illinois in 1919, he had to assume adult responsibilities at a very young age, caring for his mother, grandmother, and brother. Ben often shared stories about living hungry as a young boy, and the pride he felt when his mother and grandmother fed strangers from their scarce rations and food. That physical hunger as a child turned into a fierce appetite for learning as a young man. Determined to never watch his family suffer from financial devastation ever again, he plunged into a disciplined lifestyle of self-education on financial markets and tools. Armed with this knowledge and a strong work ethic, he became a self-made man, building a highly successful career as a procurement officer. His laser-like focus on maintaining excellent financial acumen made him a superb navigator and negotiator of complex contracts with a special focus in international precious metals. With the highest of standards and dedication to work, he proudly supported his family for a lifetime and ensured his sons had the education to support themselves and their families.

Ben and his family called many cities home. Wherever they lived, he made it a priority to settle his boys into the Scouts, Soap Box Derby racing and sports. A tender-hearted, gentle giant of a man, he always had a soft voice and loving touch for any animal he met. His love for animals is something he instilled in his sons, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Ben was an exemplary man of character, a keeper of promises and commitments his whole life leading his family through the ebbs and flows of nearly a century. He demonstrated his love and devotion to his wife daily with his words and actions, leaving the highest of standards for all who follow in his footsteps. He leaves a legacy of love and beautiful memories for his family and friends to cherish.

Services are being planed for a later date and will be held in Charleston, SC.

In lieu of flowers, kindly consider a donation to Lower Cape Fear Hospice, 1414 Physician Drive Wilmington, NC 28401.

Please share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Post a Condolence” tab below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation, 1535 S.41st Street Wilmington, NC 28403. 910.791.9099.


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  • May 12, 2019
    Alan Efting says:
    Sorry to hear about the passing of your father Chuck. Thoughts and prayers are with you, Carol and your girls during this time of grief. From the sounds of it your dad lived a magnificent life.

  • May 12, 2019
    R.H. says:
    So sorry for your loss. May your hearts be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived. Psalm 90:10; Acts 24:15

  • May 12, 2019
    John & Caroline Powell says:
    Chuck and family, Sorry about your father. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  • May 12, 2019
    Pat Nicholson says:
    I read Ben's life achemievements twice. He was a stellar role model figure for all indeed. Well written and worthy of reading again. Ben and Mary were a Hollywood couple and we should all hope to reach their high standards of life, love, and committment. My mother and father , Louise and Charlie Ratliff, loved, admired and had wonderful memories with Ben and Mary. I was so sad to hear about Ben's passing. What a man!

  • May 14, 2019
    Lisa says:
    My condolences to the Kays family. I pray God continues to comfort the family during this time of bereavement. May the many cherished and loving memories of Benjamin continue to comfort his family and friends. A comforting thought to keep in mind is at Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength, a help that is readily found in times of distress." May you all have calming thoughts during this time.