On Saturday, July 10, Ben Kjellstrom, 42, passed away in his sleep. A career Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper and United States Marine veteran, Kjellstrom leaves behind his wife Jessica, daughter Khloe, 13, and son Cody, 16.

The Kjellstrom family has made Rim Country and East Verde Estates their home for the past seven years. They have become a part of the community, known by many, loved by lots. At the time of his death, Trooper Kjellstrom was a detective with the Arizona Criminal Investigation Division. Jessica is the office manager for Diamond J Veterinary.

“Today I heard from the Medical Examiner … Ben had an enlarged heart due to coronary artery disease. His arteries had a massive amount of plaque and that restricted blood flow to his heart. No pain, his heart just stopped,” Jessica wrote on social media in mid-August. “I know that he loved me, the kids, his family and his friends immensely. I think that his heart was so large because of all of the love for us … it just couldn’t hold anymore. I guess if you’re gonna get called up, that’s the best way to go … painless with a heart full of love!”

Unexpected loss brings unexpected circumstances. To help the family, friends are hosting a fundraiser at the East Verde Park Clubhouse, 150 Al Drive.

On Saturday, Sept. 11 purchase a lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and come back for dinner from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. On the menu is meatball sub, chips, dessert and a drink. Lunch or dinner tickets are $10 per person, $5 for kids under 12. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

There will be a silent auction, raffles and a 50/50 raffle. All proceeds will go directly to Jessica and her children.

“His family is loved by so many. We want to help as much as we can,” said organizer Jamie Vincent.

RSVP on Facebook at the East Verde Community/Event page. RSVPs are appreciated but not required.

Donations for raffle items or auction items are also being accepted, as well as cash donations. Email wvdockter@aol.com or louman5904@gmail.com to make a donation or for more information.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Khloe’s and Cody’s college fees. If you would like to donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/cody-and-khloe-kjellstrom-college-fund.

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