NASHVILLE - Benjamin (Ben) Estes Dishman, Sr., 85, passed away suddenly September 21, 2022 while vacationing in Sedona, Arizona with his wife and grandson.
Ben was born August 23, 1937 in Williamsburg, Kentucky, the son of Colonel Silas Benjamin Dishman, US Army retired and Neva Estes Dishman. As the son of a military professional, Ben lived in California, Kentucky, Georgia, Kansas, Virginia, Florida, Okinawa and Tennessee before graduating from high school at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, Tennessee.
Ben graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1959 and served 20 years in the Army. During this time, Ben earned the U.S. Army designation of Airborne and Ranger. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam: 1966-67 as a Company Commander in the 1st Infantry Division where he was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and 1971-72 as an Operations and Plans Officer in Headquarters, Military Assistance Command-Vietnam where he was awarded another Bronze Star for Valor. He then served as an Assistant Professor in Literature and Philosophy at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Ben also served as a comptroller specializing in resource management at numerous U.S. military bases in the United States and Europe. Ben held a B.A. degree in engineering from the U.S. Military Academy, a M.A. from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and a M.B.A. from the University of Utah. Ben retired in 1979, completing his exemplary military career as a Lieutenant Colonel.
After his retirement from the Army, Ben began his second career with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation as the Assistant Commissioner of Administration Services. His responsibilities included Departmental annual budget preparation, supervision of accounting/cost reimbursement, automated information systems as well as oversight of the Department’s many personnel positions and resources. Ben held this position for over 16 years until his appointment as Deputy Commissioner. As Deputy Commissioner, Ben acted as executor and surrogate for the Commissioner in all activities, programs and services of the Department. In 1996 Governor Sundquist appointed him Acting Commissioner of the Department. Ben served in this position for over 3 years overseeing the inclusion of mental health services into a managed care service system in Tennessee and the revision of all state laws governing the administration and delivery of mental health and mental retardation services, programs and facilities. Ben retired from his second career in 2003 after 24 years of service with the state of Tennessee.
In a very happy retirement Ben and his wife Pat enjoyed traveling to destinations including Alaska, Hawaii, East and North Africa, Europe, Australia and South America. He often said their trips to Africa were among his favorites although he believed that given the opportunity, he and Pat could have made their permanent home in New Zealand. Ben and Pat relished the outdoors, loving and visiting many national and state parks across the country as well as his beloved Percy and Edwin Warner Parks only one-half mile from their home. Outdoor activities included many golf rounds as well. Of great pleasure to Ben were the regular visits from all three grown children and their families. He could not have been more proud and thankful for this part of his life. Daily companionship and enjoyment came from the many family felines he and Pat loved throughout the years. Felines Harry and Cooper will miss him.
Ben is survived by his loving wife Patricia ( Pat ) Dishman, sister Ann Dishman Anderson ( Ed ) Woodland Hills, Colorado, brother-in-law Robert ( Bob ) Brown ( Bethany) , children Ben (O’Malley) Dishman Jr., Dallas, TX., Julie (Keith) Murray, Murfreesboro, TN., Alan (Anne) Dishman, Decatur, GA., mother of his children, Judy Dishman, grandchildren Brice (Logan) Kluttz, Lauren Murray, Claire Dishman, Jacquelyn Dishman, Peter Dishman, Sawyer Dishman and great grandchildren Harper and Lawson Kluttz.
Ben was most thankful for and proud of his family; his rich, long and lucky life; many lifelong friends and associates and his contributions professionally as a dedicated and humble public servant. Ben was a gentle, kind, caring man who was always a calm voice in any storm. The world has lost a really good man. A Celebration of Life service will be held at a future date. If so desired, donations in his memory can be made to Nashville Humane Association, The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee, K9s for Warriors or any organizations caring for animals, veterans, or preserving our natural environment.
Arrangements are being handled by Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens, Funeral Home & Cremation Center, Nashville, Tennessee.