Anna Evelyn Brooks Benjamin, Whitewater, WI (1922-2015)
October 3, 1922 - March 19, 2015
Anna Evelyn Brooks Benjamin, 92, died on Thursday, March 19, 2015, at Fairhaven in Whitewater, WI. Ann, as she was known to her friends, was born on Oct. 3, 1922, on the Randall family farm in Jackson County, OH, to the Reverend George W. Brooks, a missionary of the American Sunday School Union, and Dorothy Randall Brooks. The family moved to Rio Grande, OH, in 1928, to provide better educational opportunities for the children. Her father died when she was 11, at the height of the Depression. The faith, courage, and inner strength of her mother, and the family’s local truck farm saw the family through those difficult years. Anna attended Rio Grande College for two years and then continued her studies at Otterbein College in Westerville, OH, graduating in 1943. After teaching school in the area and working in the Rio Grande College library, she attended Colgate-Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, NY, from 1947 to 1949. She was proud to have worked with Dr. James Dalton Morrison as he edited Masterpieces of Religious Verse (1948). On June 18, 1949, Ann married Robert Bryce Benjamin, the son of Baptist missionaries to China and a Colgate-Rochester student. Bob and Ann served First Congregational Church, UCC, in East Troy, WI, from 1951 to 1984. From 1969 to 1987 Ann taught eighth grade social studies in the East Troy public schools. In their retirement Ann and Bob enjoyed living at Whitewater Lake and traveling extensively to be with family and friends across the country. In October 1995, following Robert’s death, Ann became a Fairhaven resident. For almost 20 years she enjoyed Fairhaven’s many activities and contributed thousands of hours of volunteer work. Among many other activities, she served on the resident council, interviewed new residents for the biographical directory of residents, coordinated religious programs offered by visiting ministers and groups, and participated in the quilt-making group. In the wider community, she was a member of the United Church of Christ - Congregational in Delavan, WI, and was long active in the Greater Whitewater Lake Property Owners Association, serving as vice president and then president (1996-1997), and Honorary Parade Marshall of the annual boat parade in 2002. Among Ann’s interests were writing and music. In addition to a voluminous personal correspondence and extensive journals and family records, her writings included published letters to the editor and reflections in devotional magazines. She enjoyed music and playing the piano, and was for many years an accompanist for Fairhaven religious services.
Ann is survived by her children: John Frederick Benjamin (Robin), Charles Bryce Benjamin (Kathryn Atchison), and Roberta Ann Benjamin (Robert Schneider); six grandchildren: Corey Benjamin, Ashley Benjamin, Eric Benjamin (Taryn Catlin), Brittany Benjamin, Hannah Schneider, and Elizabeth Schneider. She was preceded in death by her sister, Eleanor Rachel Brooks Webb; and brother, George Randall Brooks.
Always intellectually and socially active, Ann Benjamin was interested in people, committed to service, and devoted to her family. She will be missed. The family wishes to thank Fairhaven for providing Ann with care and a community for many years.
A memorial service will be held at FAIRHAVEN on Tuesday, March 24, at 6 p.m. Those who would like to express sympathy may consider a memorial to the Fairhaven Foundation, the United Church of Christ – Congregational in Delavan, or First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in East Troy. The NITARDY FUNERAL HOME, Whitewater, WI, is assisting the family, www.nitardyfuneralhome.com