Ben Yacobozzi, “Hot Dog Man” passed away January 26, 2019

Ben Yacobozzi, beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend and “Hot Dog Man” died January 26, 2019 surrounded by his family, at the Hanson Hospice Center, following a brief illness.

 

Ben was born February 19, 1940 in Chicago, IL. After moving to Michigan, he graduated from St. Joseph Catholic High School in 1958 where he excelled in athletics, especially football. Following high school, Ben enlisted in the Air Force, serving in the 6314th Air Police Squadron.  While Ben was stationed in Baudette, MN at a radar base, he met his soulmate, Donna Peterson. They married April 8, 1961. During their marriage they traveled extensively and experienced many adventures.  Ben was a competitive snowmobile and motocross racer, avid angler and expert four-wheel off-road Jeep trailblazer who was always planning creative ways to embrace his adrenaline-fueled zest for life.

Ben was an incredible, compassionate man who was driven and brilliant.  He was humble and generous, ever keeping his focus as the strong Italian patriarch who embodied “FAMILY MEANS EVERYTHING”.  Many in the community knew Ben as the “Hot Dog Man,” a role that gave him immense joy.

 

Ben had a quiet intellect combined with grit and determination.  He was a man of service: he was a police officer in Ann Arbor, MI from 1962 to 1967 and Lieutenant with the St. Joseph Fire Department retiring after 25 years in 1992. While employed with the fire department he served as the Union President.   During his days off from the Fire Department, he was an ingenious builder who designed and managed a charter boat (the Lady Jane), and engineered, developed and oversaw a cider mill and farm (Breezy Acres). By far however, Ben’s entrepreneurial masterpiece was the Hot Dog Kart, a small company he created to provide summer employment for his children. He never imagined in 1984 that 36 years later, he would be treasured as the Hot Dog Man. Ben looked forward to serving the community his famous Chicago Style Hotdogs every summer on the corner of Broad and State Street in St. Joseph, Michigan.  In 2012 The Hot Dog Kart was inducted into the Vienna Beef Hall of Fame.

Ben is survived by his family who treasure and love him: his wife of 57 years, Donna, children, Lonna Mc Crumb, Brenda (Bob) Anaya, Dino (Alison) Yacobozzi, and Alan (Karen) Yacobozzi; grandchildren Zoe and Alex Anaya, Nick and Lauren Yacobozzi, Zach, Megan and Carter Yacobozzi, Jacob Hardy, sister, Pat (Don) Hutter, and an extended Italian family. He was preceded in death by his son-in-law, Kim McCrumb.

 

Ben was a generous spirit who delighted in initiating anonymous random acts of charity and kindness. To continue his legacy, the family requests memorials be made to Hanson Hospice or Children’s Advocacy Center of Southwest Michigan.

 

Visitation will be Thursday, January 31 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Starks and Menchinger Chapel and Cremation Services, 2650 Niles Rd., St. Joseph MI. Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday, February 1 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, 555 Delaware, Benton Harbor with Father Ben Huyhn officiating. Burial will take place at Riverview Cemetery following the service with military rites performed by North Berrien Military Rites Team. Those wishing to leave a condolence may do so at www.starks-menchinger.com

 




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