Benjamin "Ben" James King, 51

Benjamin “Ben” James King, age 51, of New Prague, Minnesota, died tragically on March 13, 2024, in a drowning accident while on vacation with his family in Puerto Rico. While his family and friends are shocked by his passing, they are thankful for his life.

Ben was born on March 24, 1972, in Milwaukee, the son of Tom and Chris King. He graduated from Madison Memorial High School (Madison, WI) in 1990. In 1995, he earned his political science degree from University of Wisconsin-Madison; in 1999, his Juris Doctor from Hamline University School of Law; and in 2000, his Master of Business Administration from St. Thomas University.

His professional career, following law and business school, started at BF Goodrich Aerospace, moving on to law clerking for Judge Timothy McManus, followed by working as an associate attorney at Gavin, Olson, Savre & Winters, to practicing over 15 years at Christian, Keogh, Moran & King as an Assistant County Attorney for Le Sueur County, as well as representing numerous private clients. Most recently, Ben served as an Assistant Public Defender, Minnesota Board of Public Defense, First Judicial District. Ben was well respected within the legal community where he will be remembered for his professionalism, passion for the law, intelligence, humor, fairness, compassion for his clients, and hard work.

Ben’s youth consisted of moving from Milwaukee to Green Bay, and finally to Madison, Wisconsin. The middle of two siblings, he was a fantastic and protective big brother to his younger sister, Allison, and a treasured playmate to his older brother, Jeff, as well as with his Dad - name the sport, they all played it together.

While in Madison, Ben started numerous friendships with his classmates that continued to the present. These friendships were extremely important to him. He and his friends were in consistent contact via social media, but much more importantly, got together whenever possible - such as for sporting events, like for his beloved Packers and Badgers, fishing and camping trips, or for no good reason other than to catch-up - which impressively occurred often. Also in his youth, and certainly not influenced by his immediate family, he got the fishing bug. While in high school and college, he would take fishing trips with his friends, but also, he would just love to go out by himself to his beloved Fish Lake for lunker bass - and bring home fishing stories to his family, who generally did not know what he was talking about but they all knew and understood this was one of his favorite past times, he was hooked for life!

And talking, another of his talents! He could spin the yarn with the best of them. He loved to tell stories or share his experiences, but more inspiringly, he was more interested to learn of your experiences - but if your stories were not comprehensive enough for him, he could then take the lead and all of a sudden a simple catch-up could extend to something much more involved - but nobody minded (most of the time!). He commonly would end these exchanges with a firm handshake or hug and kind words, leaving you with the feeling this connection was very important to him - and then subsequently to you too.

Ben shared a wonderful marriage of 23 years with his beloved wife, Colleen King (Goggins). Their bond was a testament to love, partnership, and mutual respect, and was evident to anyone who encountered the two of them together. While they shared a professional love in the practice of law, their true and amazing talents together are reflected in the raising of their fantastic children - Aidan and Molly - two beautiful, well-rounded, and grounded young adults.

Ben’s life is marked by his profound love for his family, whether it was coaching for Aidan or Molly’s sports teams, being involved in their youth activities or cheering on the New Prague Trojans. Most important to him was investing his time and talents to be the best dad ever - always present, always engaged, always so proud of their accomplishments and who they are growing up to be.

Ben's affection for outdoorsmanship continued into adulthood. He cherished his time on the water fishing, scouring the woods for deer, or, along with his well-trained dogs, searching the prairies for pheasants. He enjoyed the pursuit of game, but his true joy was the companionship with friends and family after the pursuit- in particular with Aidan, and Pat and Bob Goggins. Annual hunting trips to South Dakota with the boys was one of his favorite traditions. He would always be counting down the days until pheasant season opened. Accommodations were primitive, conditions could be cold, but the way he described these trips made everyone around them wonder, why don’t I try pheasant hunting in South Dakota?

Ben had a knack for creating and maintaining friendships. He moved to the New Prague area knowing few people. He leaves us now with countless “locals” who adored him and treasured the times they would have together. Ben once noted at a March Madness gathering in New Prague that he was astounded by the fact that so many people here had nicknames. He said that where he was from, in Madison, Wisconsin, people were simply called by their name. A particularly astute New Prague man (aren’t they all?) solved that problem for Ben. From that day forward he was known as Sling Dog in these parts by many. The local community is heartbroken that he is gone and will miss him immensely.

Ben is survived by wife, Colleen King; son, Aidan King; daughter, Molly King; parents, Tom and Chris King; brother, Jeff (Lisa) King; sister, Allison (Mike) Swartz; mother-in-law, Joan Goggins; brother-in-law Patrick (Rita) Goggins; nieces, Emma, Hana, Lauren, and Charlotte; and nephews, Noah, Hugh, Sam, and Bobby. He was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Bob Goggins.

Ben’s legacy will live on through the countless lives he touched and the love he shared with those around him. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, colleagues and all who had the honor of crossing paths with him.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, March 22, 2024, at 12:30 p.m. at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in New Prague with Father Kevin Clinton and Father Tom Walker officiating. Mass will be live-streamed on npcatholic.org. Visitation will take place on Thursday from 4-7 p.m. at Bruzek Funeral Home in New Prague. (There will be no visitation on Friday morning.) Family burial will occur at St. Catherine Cemetery in Spring Lake Township followed by lunch at Ridges of Sand Creek Golf Course. bruzekfuneralhome.com

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