Janet Wiley Benson, formerly of West Hartford and Avon, and the widow of Russell F. Benson who predeceased her in 2004, passed away on January 10th, 2021 in Wallingford, CT.
Born in Albany, NY in 1928, Janet was the only child of J. Allen and Vera (Goodsell) Wiley. She was a graduate of the Milne School in Albany and of Oberlin College in Ohio where she met her future husband. Janet and Russell married in 1950, and they lived in Vermont before moving to West Hartford, CT in 1955. Janet earned her M.S. in Elementary Education at Central Connecticut State College and worked as an elementary school teacher in West Hartford for twenty-two years, the majority of the time teaching the 2nd and 4th grades at Braeburn Elementary School.
After an early retirement, Janet developed a keen interest in gerontology. She returned to school at Tunxis Community College and, after earning her Certificate in Human Services, she worked for several years as the Director of Senior Services for the Town of Canton, CT.
After a second retirement, Janet worked vigorously as a volunteer in the community, delivering meals for Meals on Wheels, tutoring adults learning English as a second language, and volunteering with other community groups including Gifts of Love, Planned Parenthood, and the Red Cross.
Janet and her husband Russell were both active members of the Universalist Church of West Hartford for more than fifty years and, in addition to singing in the choir and other local church activities, they frequently represented their church as delegates to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Annual General Assemblies held in cities across the U.S. and in Canada.
Janet had no children. She is survived by her nephew, Richard Womer (Joy Wiltenburg) of Philadelphia; her niece Carol Sim of Barnstable, MA; her nephew John Womer (Mary Beth) of Woodbridge, CT; as well as six grandnieces and nephews and their spouses.
The family will hold a private memorial service at the Universalist Church of West Hartford later this year, at which time her ashes will be interred in the church’s memorial garden. Arrangements are with the Hawley Lincoln Memorial, New Haven.
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