Cover photo for Ben Van Maren's Obituary
Ben Van Maren Profile Photo
1980 Ben 2024

Ben Van Maren

November 25, 1980 — March 15, 2024

Kansas City, Missouri

Ben Van Maren left this world too soon.

Ben was the firstborn child of two firstborn adults, Bob Van Maren and Diane van Thullenar. Ben was the first grandchild of Bob and Mae Van Maren and Phil and Sue van Thullenar.   Ben was the first nephew of his 10 aunts and uncles.  He was the first brother for Nathan, Jon and Jason.  He was the first to go to college, the first to leave the country and the first to have his own children.  Ben lived fully in his 43 years on this earth.  

From a very young age, Ben explored, experimented and excelled.  He was a daredevil who would grab an umbrella and jump off the deck to see if he could fly, just like Mary Poppins.  He rode his Big Wheel down the stairs, because why not?!   Ben loved to read and travel the world and didn’t let money or time get in his way of doing so.  He was happy to sleep under the stars on a beach if he could not afford a room in his travels to Honduras, Spain, Italy, Morocco, and other countries.  He loved to scuba dive, especially at night, and received his certificate while in Honduras.   It was his goal to swim with some sharks and see a whale shark, and we are certain he is doing that now. His smile was infectious, and his laugh uplifting, and his giggle was the best! Ben was intelligent and thoughtful, and a prankster with a wicked sense of humor.

Ben excelled at disc golf, Ultimate Frisbee, wrestling, baseball, soccer, basketball, camping and cooking.  He attended the culinary program at Johnson County Community College, and his family gratefully benefited from that experience as Ben became a master cook and pastry chef.  He could create a “Refrigerator Surprise” that would impress even the most accomplished chefs. His pastries and desserts were magazine-cover worthy. Ben, as a restaurant manager, offered job opportunities to his relatives and friends.   He was the best boss according to them.   “He was so cool!  I learned a lot from Ben, and I loved working for him.”  

In high school Ben met the love of his life, Kelly Crawford.  They became best friends before dating steadily and married on May 20, 2011.  When their first child, Lucille Pearl was born, Ben was over the moon.  When Ben’s grandma Sue came to the hospital to see Lucy for the first time, she saw Ben holding Lucy. “I’ve never seen such a look of pure love as I saw on Ben’s face!” she would later tell Diane. Lucy had Ben wrapped around her finger and she never let go.   He loved spending time with Lucy, making her laugh, showing her how to flip pancakes and kick a soccer ball. When Connor was born three years later, Ben simply doubled the fun and amped up the love. Ben and Connor worked to outdo each other with silly faces and screaming goat calls.   Connor would eat any unusual food Ben put in front of him...even octopus tentacles! Ben spent hours with his children teaching them important life skills--such as how to properly throw axes and ninja stars!     

Ben left us unexpectedly, and our lives will never be the same. Remember Ben the next time you bake a cake or throw an axe.  Remember Ben when you play Phish and Grateful Dead records or shop at It’s a Beautiful Day.   Remember Ben when you’re on a beach watching the sunset or in Colorado watching the sunrise.  

Ben’s favorite times were with his family and his friends.  He was loved deeply and will be missed immeasurably.  He is survived by Kelly Van Maren and their two children, Lucy and Connor; his parents Bob and Kim Van Maren and Diane van Thullenar and Stan Eisenbarth; his brothers, Nathan (Jessica), Jon (Alex), and Jason (Brenna), Luke Eisenbarth (Lori), his sister, Lea Finfera (Rick), his nieces Grace, Madison, Belle, Brooklyn, Cate, Ellie and Fallon and his nephews Ryan, Joe, Sam, Jayden, Collyn, Austyn, Hudsyn and Finn; so many cousins, aunts, uncles and countless friends.  

We have requested donations to Lucy and Connor’s Education Fund in lieu of flowers.  His children meant everything to him and supporting their future may well ensure he will not pull a prank on you!  Hug your loved ones a little tighter today and every day.   Bonne Nuit! Ad Astra Per Aspera.

Visitation for Ben will be held Tuesday, March 26 from 5:00pm-7:00pm at the Muehlebach funeral home at 6800 Troost in Kansas City, Missouri.

A Celebration of Ben’s Life will be held on Wednesday, March 27 at 11:00am at St. Pius X Church cafeteria/basement at 5500 Woodson Road in Mission, Kansas. A light luncheon will be provided.

Casual, fun and funky clothing is welcome at both.  

“You're racing with the wind
 You're flirting with death
 So have a cup of coffee
 And catch your breath”


In Honor of Ben: Lucy and Connor's Education Fund

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, March 26, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Celebration of Life

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

St. Pius X Catholic Church

5500 Woodson Rd, Mission, KS 66202

Church cafeteria/basement - Light luncheon will be provided

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