Passing of Henry Beben

September 30, 2016

With much sadness we must inform you that Henry Beben has passed away. Henry had been involved with the Optimists from the very beginning. He was a member of the Boy Scout Band that began it all, then Opti-Corps, the Toronto Optimists and the Optimists Alumni. Henry was also a former Corps Director of the Optimists Alumni and was instrumental in the corps obtaining it's uniforms. In addition, Henry was a key organizer of every Optimists' reunion from the 1980s up until 2008.

Henry passed away on September 30, 2016. He will be missed by all of those who knew him. Our condolences go to Caroll and the rest of Henry's family.

Messages of condolences can be posted on the Optimists Alumni Facebook page.


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Henry George Beben on Friday September 30th, 2016 at the age of 76. Henry will be greatly missed by his wife of 58 years, Caroll Beben (nee Karius), his brother Ron Beben (William Denison), his four daughters Deborah Grier (David Grier), Laura Beben-Feehan (Jamie Feehan), Alyson Beben (Derrick Rayner) and Nicole Beben (Ian Walterhouse); and his 11 grandchildren, Andrew, Matthew, Heather, Daniel, Caitlin, Braedon, Bridget, Julia, Megan, Kate and Luke.

After emigrating from Poland in the 1930s, Henry's parents, Frank and Mary Beben, settled in Toronto. In high school, Henry was a gifted athlete. He excelled as a runner and played quarterback for the Oakwood Collegiate Institute football team. Through his teenage years, he played trumpet in the Boy Scout Band that later became the Toronto Optimists Drum and Bugle Corps. In 1958, the Corps won the Canadian Championship - an achievement of which Henry was extremely proud. He formed lifelong friendships with many of his fellow band members including Dennis DeCarli, Phil Hennings, Warren Mills, Ed Nanni and Jim Patten.

Henry entered the work force as a stock boy at Fredrick's Market on Davenport Road in Toronto. His first sales position was with the H. J. Heinz Company where Henry found his passion for the food industry. Over the next 50 years, he built an extraordinary career. As the President and Chief Operating Officer at The Heritage Group (including J.M. Schneider Inc.), Henry spearheaded the expansion of the company. Sales grew exponentially under his leadership.As the President and Chief Executive Officer at Gainers Inc., Henry helped rebuild the struggling company by developing substantial export sales in international markets.

Later in his career, Henry realized his lifelong aspiration to own and manage several companies including his prized business venture - Principal Marques Incorporated. In his retirement, Henry travelled with Caroll, supported the Blue Jays and the Maple Leafs by attending many games and enjoyed the company of his friends and family. He took a special interest in the lives of his children and grandchildren, and derived great happiness from their accomplishments. He was fiercely proud of each of them.

Visitation will be held at Marshall Funeral Home at 10366 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4C 3B8 on Wednesday October 5th from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. and on Thursday October 6th from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., with service to follow.

Donations may be made to the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Visitation and Service for Henry

  • The visitation and the service will both be held at the
    Marshall Funeral Home
    10366 Yonge St
    Richmond Hill, ON L4C 5N1
  • Google map to the Marshall Funeral Home
  • Visitation:
    • Wednesday, October 5th, 2016, 5:00pm - 8:00pm
    • Thursday, October 6th from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m
  • Service: Thursday, October 6th, 2016, 11:00am