Ben Kredich, who has autism, has been fighting for his rights for a long, long time, despite the fact that he’s still a very young man.
He’s grateful to those who have helped him achieve his goal of living independently, and nobody is higher on that list than Marsha Partin, his longtime school aide, who died in March. Her family has asked Ben to play the piano at her memorial service July 2.
On July 25, 2018, Betty Bean posted this story on Knox TN Today: Brother advocates for twin to live on campus. Seems Ben Kredich’s brother, Miles, had launched a change.org petition in support of Ben being allowed to live in a dorm at the University of Tennessee. Ben was a student in the Future Program, which was designed for students with intellectual disabilities and autism. Future Program students pay full tuition and fees, plus an additional $5,000 to support the program.
On April 24, 2019, Bean was back, reporting that Ben Kredich had become the first Future Program student at UT who was included in student housing. She quoted Ben’s mom, Kim Kredich, saying she would continue to fight. “I’m not in this just for my own kid,” she said.
Ben Kredich has finished UT now and has entered the world of work. But he remembers those who helped him along the way. And no one was more important to Ben than Marsha Partin, his longtime school aide.
Mrs. Partin, who died March 24, 2023, from complications of pneumonia, was an elementary school teacher who had taught in Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas.
According to her obituary, her career as an educator culminated in a position as an in-school aide to a student with autism. She maintained his academic career from third grade through graduation at West High School. That student was Ben Kredich.
Mrs. Partin, who grew up in Halls Crossroads as Marsha Floyd, will be acknowledged at a celebration of life at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 2, at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel. The service will be livestreamed at www.facebook.com/mynattfuneralhome.
Ben Kredich will play a tribute to his friend during the service.
Ben’s mother, Kim, posted online:
As so many of you know, one of the most treasured people in our lives has been Marsha Partin, Ben’s school aide from 3rd-12th grades.
On March 24, I received a text message from Marsha’s family letting me know that the family had been summoned to Knoxville to say their final goodbyes to Marsha, who had been hospitalized several days earlier.
I asked if Ben and I could come visit the hospital with Ben’s portable keyboard and the doctors at UT Medical Center kindly approved the family’s request. Marsha was unresponsive and of course it was very hard to witness such a lively and vibrant person in this condition. We figured out a makeshift setup for Ben to play his piano keyboard in the room next to Marsha’s bed.
Ben played piano for his dear Ms. Partin for 30 minutes. It was beautiful and joyful and so sad and, well, indescribably special. Ben and I left the hospital and, not long after, Marsha passed. I believe in my heart of hearts that Marsha heard Ben’s music and our laughs and our tears that day.
Ben has been asked to play piano at Marsha’s Celebration of Life ceremony this July 2. Her family has chosen Indo Jax Surf Charities as one of the charities Marsha loved, knowing how much Ben and children like him benefit from this amazing organization.
As I posted not long ago, Marsha is the reason Ben now plays piano at several assisted living centers. She is an Eternal Gift in our lives that keeps giving and giving to Ben, our family and our community. All of the advocacy help I have given to others is a direct result of Marsha’s caring and skill she bestowed upon Ben throughout his elementary through high school years.
Here’s to one of the most beautiful people this world has ever known. We miss her so much.