Benjamin V. Lozare
November 16, 1947 – February 8, 2024
“Dr. Benjamin Villasol Lozare, a dean, a teacher and a lifelong learner, self-proclaimed “nomad” who traveled to more than 100 countries but whose roots were always deeply embedded in the Philippines, devoted family man, loyal Commanders fan, amateur magician and animal lover who once held the stare of a silverback gorilla in a mountain in Rwanda, was “called up” on Feb. 8, 2024 and now is among the stars he often gazed at from his telescope in Columbia, Md., and from mountains and deserts across the world. He was 76.
While he battled a blood cancer for six years, Ben’s last few days were “normal” — he was with family, having dinner with friends and practicing his cello. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., where he passed away hours later surrounded in love by his wife of 50 years, Cristina, and his children Brian and Nicole along with their spouses Stephanie and Dave. His three beloved grandchildren — Isabela (11), Benjie (8) and Chloe (7), were also in the room and held their Lolo’s hands in his final hours.
Ben was born on Nov. 16, 1947, in Manila to Segundo Lozare and Gerarda Villasol Lozare. His father worked at the Manila Daily Bulletin where he served various roles from reporter to accountant. His mother taught piano and worked at a church.
Ben received his undergraduate degree in mass communications from the University of the Philippines Diliman and furthered his studies at the University of Western Ontario in Canada. He holds a master’s and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Ben returned to the Philippines with his pregnant wife and one-year-old son, Brian. His daughter, Nicole, was born a few months later.
At 30, he began a long career in academia. He served as the youngest dean — College of Arts and Sciences at the Health Sciences — of the University of the Philippines Manila.
During the People Power Revolution in 1986, Ben served on the executive council of NAMFREL (National Movement for Free Elections). NAMFREL was an all-volunteer organization that helped spark the revolution to end a dictator regime in the Philippines and Ben’s role as chairman of communications was the proudest moment of his life.
He was appointed the first Director General of the Philippine Information Agency, an organization founded by executive order of the newly President Cory Aquino to open channels of communication and free press following decades of martial law.
Ben was awarded an Eisenhower Exchange Fellowship in 1986 to represent the Philippines and came to the United States for two months, “to foster international understanding by providing individuals of outstanding achievement and promise with exposure to the United States,” according to a New York Times article at that time announcing the fellowship.
The family moved to Singapore for a couple of years where he served as Deputy Secretary General of the Asian Mass Communication Research and Information Center Foundation.
The family moved to Maryland in 1991 when Ben joined Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and stayed until his retirement. His consulting work with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, The World Bank, the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East brought him to remote pockets around the world.
His heart, however, always remained in the Philippines. He read Filipino newspapers daily despite not having lived in the country for nearly 35 years.
Ben’s mantra of “country above self” was shaped by his time with the Vanguards, a military academy and fraternity on campus, where he stayed in the barracks throughout his undergraduate studies at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP). He heavily credits the Vanguards for giving him discipline and instilling in him its guiding principles: “duty well performed, honor untarnished and country above self.” His strong bonds with his roles as father, husband and Lolo were his most valued.
Ben and his wife Cristina traveled around the world. They shared many similar interests from art to books and TV shows. In the fall, Ben could be found on the couch with Brian cheering/crying over the Commanders. Nicole enjoyed cooking her father’s favorite dishes such as Hainanese Chicken Rice from their time in Singapore.
He was a doting grandpa who loved doing riddles with his grandchildren. He was visited by his Izzy, Benjie and Chloe for hours every weekend and they would FaceTime him and Lola every single night. With him, love — and desserts — were endless and in abundance.
Ben is survived by his wife Cristina Lozare, son Brian (Stephanie) Lozare and granddaughter Chloe; his daughter Nicole Lozare Huber (Dave) and grandchildren Izzy and Benjie.
Ben also is survived by his younger brother Jaime Lozare in Thailand. He is preceded in death by his older brothers; Paolino and Emilio; his beloved sister Norma Lozada; Ninang Guiding; and a number of nieces and nephews throughout the world, most of whom grew up as rapt audience members of his magic show.
There will be a memorial on Thurs., Feb. 15 from 1-3 p.m. at Harry H. Witzke’s Family Funeral Home in Ellicott City, Md. The memorial will be live-streamed via the Witzke’s website and a recording will be accessible shortly after.
The family thanks everyone for the outpouring of love and support.
In lieu of flowers gifts in honor of Dr. Benjamin Lozare may be directed to support Dr. Amy Dezern’s research. Please make checks payable to Johns Hopkins University with a memo indicating that this gift is “IMO Ben Lozare, to Dr. Dezern’s research” and direct them to the: Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, 750 East Pratt Street, Suite 1700, Baltimore, MD 21202.
You can also make a direct gift online. https://secure.jhu.edu/form/Kimmel Please select “Other” from the drop down list and specify “Dr. Dezern’s Research”.
–Nicole Lozare Huber