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Death in our diocesan family: Benjamin Edmund Ironside

votive candles

With sadness we share the news of the death of Benjamin Edmund Ironside, 45, on January 20, 2023. He was the brother of the Rev. Susan Ironside, Rector of Grace Church, Madison.

Born in Stoneham, MA to parents Kenneth and Valerie (Mitchell) Ironside, Benjamin was the sixth of what would eventually be seven children in a large and loud family that lived in Hamilton, MA, Bloomfield, NJ and Upper Darby, PA. 

He traveled the world working for Carnival Cruise Lines, played the drums with various bands in New York, Singapore and Vietnam, tended bar in Manhattan, became a pilot and was an instructor at ATP Flight School in Arizona before starting his own business, Don’t Forget the Pocket Strap, LLC with his wife and partner, Tina Gilks.

Benjamin enjoyed music and adventure. With a gift and passion for drums that began at an early age, he played with various musicians in many bands. A bold traveler, he visited exotic places and made friends everywhere he went. His quick wit and gift for impressions combined with his broad knowledge of the world to make him the funniest person that most people have known. Ben relished in his role as pet caregiver, giving each of his “kids” a clever name and happy existence.

Ben is survived by wife and business partner, Tina Gilks, his beloved stepdaughter Kayla Heege, and their shared kids Lincoln, Lloyd, Smigel, Ragnar, Iagatha, Consuela, Dorkas, Vivian, Nana, James and Khloe; parents, Ken and Valerie; siblings Susan (Andrew Moore), Nancy, Sarah, Rebecca (Fernando Silva), Jacob (Amy Gosen); nieces Maddie (Matt Mozena), Lucy, Jillian, Caroline and Shiloh; nephews Nathan, George, Jack, Owen, Charlie and Noah. Benjamin is preceded in death by his sister, Amy, and his beloved golden retriever, Holly.

Benjamin had a quiet, yet intentional way of helping others. In lieu of flowers, hang a neighbor’s television, fix their wheelchair, say hello to their dogs, befriend their children and seek to make life easier for another person.

Condolences may be sent to the Rev. Susan Ironside care of Grace Church, 4 Madison Avenue, Madison , NJ 07940.

God, our Father, we thank you that you have made each of us in your own image, and given us gifts and talents with which to serve you. We thank you for Benjamin, the time we shared with him, the good we saw in him, the love we received from him. Now give us strength and courage, to leave him in your care, confident in your promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.