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The clue "Probate Judge" was a hot one. We have had several correct submissions since we uploaded that clue including: John Werner, Harriet Reece, Ray Norton and Steve and Jo McGill.

Probate Judge Benjamin Harrison Bear is the answer for Week 57 of Orofino History Trivia, a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of our community.

Ben Bear was born Aug. 8, 1889, the son of John and Sarah (Brown) Bear in St. Francis, KS. His mother died when he was an infant leaving a family of nine children. He grew up in St. Francis and graduated in the local high school in 1908. While he was growing up he got interested in photography and after graduation moved to Beaver City, NE and became a partner in a photography studio for seven years. He leased the studio for six months and went to Seattle, WA where he worked for a commercial photographer.

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In 1917, he sold the business and went to Omaha branch of the Dickerman School of Expression. Then Ben performed with the Redpath-Horner Chautauqua. It was his goal to enter the entertainment field as a career, but World War I changed those plans and he entered the Air Service in November of 1917 and was sent to Kelly Field at San Antonio, TX. Later, he joined an entertainment company that toured military camps. In spring of 1918, he was sent overseas where he became part of the 12th Photo Section of the First Day Bombardment Group and remained there until the armistice. He was injured in an airplane crash while in Europe. At the close of the war, he joined the Overseas Concert Company and performed with the group until his honorable discharge in 1919.

He returned to Beaver City and operated a farm nearby for 10 years before becoming involved in selling automobiles and later was sales manager for an agricultural association dealing in hybrid seed corn.

When World War II came, he was no longer able to be involved in military service, so he offered his country service in the defense industry in Portland, OR. After the war, in 1945, he moved to Orofino. He became very involved in the Veterans of Foreign Wars on a local, state and national basis.

Bear became a probate judge in Clearwater County in 1949 and served until 1965. At that time, judges did not have to have a legal background. C. Louise Crowley was his secretary during part of that time.

He married Faye Pritchard in 1949. She was born in Beaver City and after graduation went to normal school and taught for a time. In 1927, she graduated from nursing school in Portland. She was a registered nurse and registered medical record librarian. She resigned her nursing position in Portland to marry Ben. They lived on Orofino Creek until he retired from being probate judge. Then they moved to a home on Michigan Ave. that always had beautiful red geraniums in front while Faye lived there. Ben loved musical readings and wrote them to perform while Faye played the piano. He had memorized many humorous poems and stories and was in demand as an amateur entertainer.

Ben died Dec. 8, 1977. Faye is now 105 years old and lives in a care center in Lewiston.

Ben had one son, Jerry Lee, from a previous marriage.

(Information gathered from Harriet Reece, Ruth Bird and History of Idaho Vol. III, Copyright Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1959--in the possession of Wayne and Corrie Shriver)

Photo: Probate Judge Ben Bear (Photo courtesy of Clearwater County Court)

Monday: Was an entertainer.

Tuesday: This person's mother died when they were young.

Wednesday: VFW State Commander.

Thursday: Photographer.

Friday: Licensed realtor.

Saturday: Probate judge.

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302 Johnson Ave. * Orofino, ID 83544 * 208-476-5589

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Window on the Clearwater
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Orofino, ID 83544
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