Benjamin Moreland

Benjamin Franklin Moreland Jr. of East Falmouth, who with his wife operated several businesses in that village over the years, died June 5 at Falmouth Hospital. He was 85.

He and Sylvia Anne (Netto) Moreland had been married for 44 years at the time of her death in 2003.

Born and raised in Houston, Texas, he graduated from Brainerd High School. He had been a resident of East Falmouth since 1964.

Mr. Moreland served in the US Air Force for four years before working at The Towne Cleaners, where he met Sylvia Netto. The laundromat and dry cleaning service was first opened by Joseph A. Netto Jr. in 1955, and was operated by him until his retirement in 1975 at which time ownership was transferred to his daughter and son-in-law.

The Morelands opened In & Out Photo, a one-hour photo shop, at The Towne Cleaners in 1984.

He and his wife had also owned Foundations by Ben. During the 1980s arcade games were on offer above the dry cleaning establishment and in the 1990s the store served as a collection point for warm clothing for the homeless during the winter.

In early January 1999 a pre-dawn fire destroyed the East Falmouth Highway building that housed the photo shop and cleaning businesses. By the time the three-alarm blaze was extinguished, the building was declared a total loss. After a two-week investigation, fire officials determined that a boiler malfunction had caused the fire.

A year after the fire, the couple had reopened the custom picture framing portion of In & Out Photo at their home on Vidal Avenue. Mr. Moreland mounted all his samples in a motor home beside their house, and operated his business out of the vehicle.

“Operating out of the motor home makes our business unique,” he said. “We can go to the customer, or they can come to us, and we have day, evening, and weekend appointments.”

The Morelands determined that rebuilding the cleaners would be cost prohibitive.

Mr. Moreland remained active as an East Falmouth business owner, as well as in business issues relating to the village's future, and led the interest in forming an association of East Falmouth business owners who would work with East Falmouth residents to address mutual concerns and goals about the future of the village. This group evolved into the East Falmouth Business Association.

He served as a Town Meeting member for Precinct Four, was active on several committees, and helped to build one of the town's softball fields. He was a Cub Scout and Boy Scout leader for several years, as well as a minor league baseball coach.

He and his wife belonged to St. Anthony's Church in East Falmouth and Mr. Moreland took a leadership role in its men's club. He was a past president of the Portuguese-American Association, and a lifetime member of the Falmouth Lodge of Elks.

He leaves four sons, Benjamin J. Moreland of Marlborough, Connecticut, Mark A. Moreland of Texas, Stephen J. Moreland of Uxbridge and Christopher D.J. Moreland of East Falmouth; a brother, Ed Moreland of Texas; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandsons.

He was preceded in death by his daughter, Kathryn R. Hall.

Visiting hours will be Friday, June 11, from 5 to 8 PM at Chapman Funerals & Cremations, 475 Main Street in Falmouth.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, June 12, at 11 AM at St. Anthony's Church, 167 East Falmouth Highway. Burial will follow at St. Anthony's Cemetery.

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