Benjamin Thomas "Ben" Nystel, a beloved patriarch and descendant of one of Bosque County's pioneer Norwegian emigre families, died Wednesday Dec. 9 from complications of coronavirus. He was 55.
A large, gentle man with thick, calloused hands and sun-browned skin, Ben was noted for an easy smile, a soft voice and for helping people. He was extremely devoted to his family, the larger community and his faith. He lived with his wife Shelley and teen son Tag on a busy, remote farm near Iredell. He was a member of First Baptist Church Iredell. He loved his cows and canines.
Born Aug. 3, 1965, at Glen Rose, Ben attended Glen Rose schools. After retiring as a Glen Rose Independent School District bus/diesel mechanic two years ago, he recently joined the Somervell County road crew, where a fellow employee said he was "just like a big old bear, a hard worker, a team player and just a great person...He made you smile just to see him coming."
"Ben's real passions were as a mentor, a friend, a lover, a witness for God, a shepherd who kept his flock and a warrior who kept the wolves away," Shelley Nystel said.
Due to Covid 19 restrictions the services will be private. The Rev. Neil Wade of First Baptist Church Iredell will officiate. Pallbearers will be Les Witt, Dub Witt, Shelbey Clark, William Clark, Lottie Nystel, Skyler Troxell, Darrin Troxell,, Jessica Nystel, Tag Nystel and Cody Cagle. Honorary pallbearers will be Martin Espino, Joe Nystel, Harold Cleveland, Patrick Tudor, Brian "B" Thomas, Kenny Miller, Kenny Gabrielson and Curtis Alexander.
He was a descendant of Ole Tergerson Nystel, a native of Norway who moved to Bosque County's Norse community in 1866 and helped found the Seventh Day Adventist Church there. In 1888, Ole Nystel and a friend were attacked by Comanches while cutting cedar on Key Mountain. The friend got away, but Nystel was captured and later wrote a book, "Lost and Found: Three Months with Wild Indians in 1888."
Ben Nystel was preceded in death by his parents, George Thomas Nystel and Josephine Nichols Nystel, and a brother, William "Billy" Nystel.
Survivors include the widow, Shelley Vick Nystel; children, Les Witt, Dub Witt (wife Gina), Shelbey Nystel Clark (husband William), Lottie Nystel, Skyler Troxell, Darrin Troxell, Jessica Nystel and Taggard "Tag" Nystel; grandchildren, Cody Cagle, Mary and Jax Witt, Merlot and Meadow Moss, Bella Troxell, Korbin Clark, Evelyn Troxell, Avery Wilder Nystel, Veda Nystel and Samuel Troxell; and grandchild, M. J. Cagle.
Arrangements were made by Lawson Funeral Home, Meridian, Texas 254-435-2792 .