Posted On August 3rd, 2010 -

July 30, 2010

Beatrice (“Bea”) Elizabeth Bennett, 95, passed on peacefully in her home of 51 years in Honolulu, surrounded by her loving family. Her legacy is honored by all who were fortunate enough to know her.

Bea was born on April 15, 1915 in Norwich, Connecticut, to Telley Eugene and Mary Elizabeth Babcock. Some of Bea’s fondest memories were of her childhood summers spent on the Atlantic shoreline. She always enjoyed being near the ocean.

She received her undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Bacteriology from Tufts University in 1939, where she was captain of the tennis team, a member of the diving team, and a member of the Chi Omega sorority. Bea met and fell in love with young intern Dr. James (“Jim”) Gordon Bennett while working in the lab at Robert Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. They were married on February 17, 1940. Together with great vitality and commitment, they successfully raised four loving children.

In 1959, Bea and Jim moved to Hawaii, where Bea was supportive of Jim’s appointment as one of the founding physicians of Kaiser Permanente Medical Group. Always first and foremost a devoted wife and mother, Bea spent a number of years closely involved in many aspects of community service as well. Among her many accomplishments as a volunteer was her dedicated work in the Outdoor Circle, and the KCAA Preschools of Hawaii and Symphony Thrift Shops. She was a member of the American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters. An avid tennis player from the age of 8 to 80 and nicknamed “the Killer Bea” on the court by her family, she continued to be an enthusiastic tennis fan in her twilight years. Though shirking the long-distance running embraced by her husband, she gladly accepted the title of “coach” and lead supporter of Bea’s Blue Blazers, the family’s running team. In addition, Bea had great knowledge of and appreciation for gardening, flower arranging, and the arts.

Beatrice is survived by son John (Malina) Bennett; daughter Carolyn Bennett; daughter Jean Bishop; five grandchildren (Richard [Denice] von Gnechten, Heidi [Jeff] Wright, Darcey Bennett, Marlisa Bennett and Kelley Bishop); and five great grandchildren (Jacque, Rachel and Danielle von Gnechten, and Ethan and Elijah Wright). Bea was predeceased by husband Jim and daughter Nancy Von.

Bea’s ashes will be interned with her beloved husband Jim of 55 years at the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. Private services to be held. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation be made to one’s favorite charity if desired.

- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran