Benjamin “Ben” D. McCollum II, age 41, of AuTrain, MI died unexpectedly Wednesday, April 6, 2022 at his home in Au Train. Ben was born on June 2, 1980 in Munising, MI to John “Jack” and Sandra “Sandy” (Pihlainen) McCollum. He grew up in Au Train surrounded by his sister and numerous friends and cousins where they lived a life of daily adventure riding bikes, making forts, and climbing trees. Ben was baptized and raised as a member of the Sion Lutheran Church in Chatham, MI. Ben loved the outdoors where he would hunt, fish, swim, ski, and snowboard. Naturally this aptitude for nature led him to join the Boy Scouts where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Ben enjoyed every season and always had a group of friends that joined him on his adventures. After graduating from Munising High School in 1998, Ben pursued a degree in Aviation Mechanics at NMU and Lansing Community College before deciding to become an electrician. He served his apprenticeship under Herb Brown at Alger Electric and then worked for many years in the field. In Ben’s spare time, he became a talented and meticulous wood worker. Ben enjoyed immersing himself into small projects like cutting boards or spending endless hour making sure every detail was perfect on a hardwood floor. He also loved to collect rocks and to grow specialty plant starters for people who loved his many vines, palms, and ferns. Ben was a loving uncle to his nieces and nephew and he tried to encourage them in their hobbies and activities. While he enjoyed all of these things, Ben’s greatest joy came when his daughter Kallie was born to him and Mallery Graves in 2018. He loved to read to her and do anything to make her laugh and smile. Kallie would follow her daddy around the house as she tried to “help” him with every little thing. She was his pride and joy and he loved her more than anything in the world.
Ben is survived by his daughter – Kallie Graves; parents – Jack and Sandy McCollum; sister and brother-in-law - Emily and Kerby Albro; nieces – Lily and Linda; nephew – Isaiah; Godparents – Pam Kuivinen and Terry Pihlainen; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandparents – Ben and Gwen McCollum and Evelyn and Urho Pihlainen.
Private family services will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Ben’s name may be made to World Vision, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063 http://www.worldvision.org/donate