It has been a bit more than a week since Ben Mukkala passed away.
As we reflect on his storied life, we hope our friend - a longtime Mining Journal columnist - knew how much he was loved and respected.
Since his passing, The Mining Journal has received phone calls, emails and letters from people who were fans of Ben, people who might not have met the man, but felt as though he was their friend through his gentle, folksy musings on life, shared in his column.
Mukkala, the author of several books, announced in his farewell column in the Aug. 8 edition of The Mining Journal that his medical prognosis was not good.
He had been diagnosed with cancer and had chosen palliative care rather than chemotherapy and radiation.
He died on Sept. 25. He was 83.
An Air Force pilot who served in both the Korean and Vietnam wars, Mukkala was a down-to-earth man who wrote in no-nonsense style, sharing his keen observations about family, the outdoors and the world in general.
Marquette native Mukkala always enjoyed meeting people and shone at book signings, where his fans had the chance to speak with him.
We mourn his passing, but celebrate a life well lived.
Ben Mukkala truly was a unique individual, able to communicate, to educate, to inform and to inspire in his own way, simply and kindly.
He will be missed but Ben Mukkala will never be forgotten because of all the fine writing he shared with us all.