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Benjamin J. Elkington, engineer who taught woodworking with People Inc.

Feb. 5, 1929 - March 20, 2015

Benjamin J. Elkington, a native of Great Britain who spent most of his life in the Town of Tonawanda, died March 20 under hospice care in the Schofield Residence Nursing Facility after a short illness. He was 86.

Born in London, England, he graduated from the University of London with a degree in mechanical and electrical engineering before joining the British Army in the early 1950s. He served in a paratrooper unit.

After his military service, he moved to Buffalo — where other members of his family had already settled — in 1955.

He met, fell in love with and married a Buffalo woman, Sandra MacLeod. The couple married in 1956 and were together until her death in 2011.

Mr. Elkington spent most of his working life as an engineer at Markel Electric in Buffalo, where he was employed about 28 years before leaving as a senior project engineer in 1983.

He spent several years working for companies in Indiana and South Carolina before returning to Buffalo in 1987. He then took a job with People Inc., where he helped physically and mentally challenged men and women learn the woodworking trade. He retired in 2000.

Mr. Elkington loved reading, watching old movies and spending time with his nine grandchildren. He was a lifelong fan of London’s Arsenal Football Club, a British professional soccer team.

He was also proud of his longtime friendships with Nicolas Roeg, a British Army buddy who went on to become one of England’s most successful film directors, and the late Jean Simmons, a British movie star who grew up with Mr. Elkington.

He is survived by a son, Robert; two daughters, Lisa Giacomazza and Susan Klute; and a brother, Patrick.

A memorial service was held Friday at Deerhurst Presbyterian Church. Mr. Elkington’s family plans to take his cremains to England for burial.

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