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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Photo by: Middleton

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Photo by: Middleton

Kennedale News will begin a new series of articles in partnership with the Kennedale Historical Society to bring you some glimpses into our past here in Kennedale. Our vision of these historic places and people are focused through the viewfinder of the camera of one of Kennedale’s own.

David Benson Middleton was born Dec. 23, 1930, in Fort Worth to Ruth Rodgers Middleton and Tommy Middleton. He grew up on the Rodgers’ family farm in Kennedale. He attended Kennedale school and afterwards served in the Army as an M.P. at Fort Hood.

Ben married Betty Jo Tyson on May 13, 1955, and they had three daughters, Laurie, Lindy and Pat. He worked at various jobs as a young man, his jobs as a married man focused on 3 jobs. Magnolia Pipeline, HiWay Plumbing, but later, made a career with the U.S. Postal Service and was postmaster of Kennedale for 23 years, until he retired in 1992. He was given the nickname during his postmaster days of “By the Book Ben,” always a man for following the rules. 

As his daughters were still small, he worked as a plumber with his father in law, Marshall Tyson and brother in law, Steve Radakovich, who late became Mayor of Kennedale. Ben learned how to do anything that plumbing entailed and worked hard to provide for his family, but the pay was sometimes not enough to make ends meet.

Ben signed up to attend photography classes at the Ft. Worth Science and History Museum. Learning all there was to know about taking and developing his own photos! His teachers thought his photos were outstanding and hung several, including this ahead of his time, selfie, in the hallway of the museum and it remained there for may years in the education portion of the museum.

He built a dark room and little by little purchased photo enlarger, drying machine and other needs to stock his dark room. Now he was ready to being his sideline job, which became a lifelong passion of his. Ben was everywhere in town, making photos of school events, Kennedale Alumni reunions, sports, proms, homecoming. He then branched into wedding photography and family pictures.

In 1965 Kennedale News Paper was born. Ben saw a way to promote his photography and also use it to preserve Kennedale’s history. What better thing to do than volunteer as news photographer? Serving his community and at the same time letting folks now he was available to do their pictures for a fee. He continued making pictures even after becoming employeed at the Post Office.

No family has more of an archive of not only, family photos, but of hometown photos than we do. A friend suggested to Jeff Nevarez, owner of Kennedale News that I do a weekly column to share some of the photos my Daddy made and the history behind them. Who knows, YOU may be in some of them!

I hope you enjoy them, as much as I will enjoy sharing them! We are calling these articles, “Photo by: Middleton” which was Daddy’s byline in the old Kennedale News! Watch for a new picture and story each Wednesday evening!

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