Benjamin R. Hoops, obituary

Posted:  Saturday, October 21, 2017 - 2:00pm

LINCOLNVILLE — Benjamin Richard Hoops passed away peacefully in the company of loving family and friends on October 16, 2017. Ben gracefully navigated his last few years in the same spirit which he brought to all great challenges, maintaining a full schedule of grand adventures while working diligently to overcome his cancer diagnosis. Though his fabulous life was cut short, it was filled with laughter, profound experiential education, and a network of meaningful relationships with friends and colleagues.

Born June 22, 1973, in Indianapolis, Indiana, Ben spent his formative years in the Midwest, where his love of the outdoor world was ignited. Ben's adventurous spirit took him from the wilds of Hurricane Island, Maine to Bozeman, Montana where he attended Montana State University, graduating with a degree in horticulture and landscape design.
Ben's adult life was defined by his decades-long commitment to Outward Bound. He attended the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in 1996 as a student on a 68-day semester, the most challenging course offered by the School at that time. He returned to HIOBS as a sailing and rock climbing instructor in 1998. Later, he joined Outward Bound Professional, a program designed to promote team building to corporations, non-profits and government agencies. In addition, Ben was one of the founding program directors of the Hurricane Island Foundation's School for Science and Leadership.

The passion and joy that Ben brought to every interaction touched friends, colleagues and thousands of students during his years at HIOBS and beyond. His dedication, enthusiasm and indefatigable spirit inspired peers and produced new opportunities for students. Ben discovered and developed new rock climbing sites on Hurricane Island and was always willing to pull on a wetsuit at dawn and jump in the frigid Maine ocean to support early morning capsize drills. Leading two- and three-week expeditions in open sailboats that ventured between Muscongus and Machias Bays, Ben shared his knowledge of sailing and the sea. Round the clock and in all weather, Ben's engaging and generous nature invited students not only to push past their perceived limits, but genuinely expand their abilities to endure, lead and thrive. Ben met his wife, Aimee, and many of his most devoted friends during his time at Outward Bound.

Even as accumulating responsibilities required Ben to spend more time on a computer than a rock face, Ben sought adventure outdoors. Winter found Ben telemark skiing, ice climbing or loading up his team of Alaskan huskies for epic dogsledding trips through the Maine woods. In the summer, whitewater canoeing, camping and fly fishing trips with his legendary, custom-made camping kits which were highlights of many friends' seasons. He could often be found dropping a line in the St. George River after work, fly fishing Grand Lake Stream with a few good pals, or on one of the most amazing adventures of his life: fishing in the Alaskan wilderness with his dad, Bud. In his last weeks, Ben rallied friends for a round of final fly fishing trips, which he squeezed in between visits to Dana Farber in Boston.

Ben is survived by his wife, Aimee Leclerc of Lincolnville, Maine; his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Norman "Bud" Hoops of Nobleboro, Maine and Vero Beach, Florida; his sisters, Abigail Hoops of Somersworth, New Hampshire and Anne Hoops of Vassalboro, Maine; his beloved team of sled dogs; and more cherished friends than one could ever hope for. Though his body is gone, Ben's joyful spirit and weatherproof grin will adventure on in all who knew him.

Family and friends will gather to celebrate Ben's life on October 29, 2017 at his favorite place in all the world, Hurricane Island, Maine. Please visit for more information. In lieu of flowers, Ben's family suggests making a donation in his name to the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School.