COLCHESTER — Elizabeth (Bette) Ann Fleury (Colchester) passed away peacefully at the Vermont Respite House on March 15, 2015.
She was born in Chester, Vt., on Aug. 22, 1931 during the height of the Great Depression, to Clara (Babbie) and Arthur (John) Benjamin, the youngest of three children. It was soon apparent that this bonny child with her innate independence, common sense and talents was destined to make her own special mark in life. Her insight, natural abilities and determination would be her touchstones as she set the example to become a dedicated wife, mother and homemaker.
She was educated in St. Albans by the Nuns of St. Mary’s School system which helped to enhance both her self-reliance and creative abilities. In addition to the rudimentary subject matter, she studied music and voice and participated in may related school programs. With her outstanding singing voice and charm she could have easily gained a career in any number of theatrical vocations. Instead, from the start, her chosen career was to be marriage and motherhood. Her teachers recognized and admired her grownup attitude about life, and the examples she set for herself in order to achieve her future goals. Because of this she was selected to give a graduation speech on the reasons, meanings and importance of marriage. It was so much accepted by everyone, that the Monsignor would use excerpts from the speech in some of his sermons relating to marriage.
On Nov. 1, 1949 Bette married Jack Fleury, her high school sweetheart at St. Mary’s Church in St. Albans. Their togetherness of going-steady would last for 70 years. Bette would give birth to eight beautiful babies to fulfill her life’s dream of being a mother. Each one of these babies would be nurtured as if they were an only child with much motherly love and compassion. It is difficult to put in words the effort and dedication Bette applied to motherhood. With her diligence and talents she confronted each situation without hesitation or complaint. She was multi-tasking long before the word became a meaningless cliché’ and using today’s standards, Bette the homemaker “never worked a day in her life.”’
Her children, Cathy Ann (Richard Haggerty), Susan Alice, Eric Michael (Joyce), Rebecca Dawn (pre-deceased in 2013), Amy Beth (Donal McGonegal), Claudia Lynn, Krista Lee and Aaron Andrew have all benefited from Bette’s wisdom and common sense approach to life. In part they have continued her motherhood vocation by having 16 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren. She dedicated her life to being a wife and mother and serving God every day.
Last, but not least, in every sense of the word Elizabeth Ann Benjamin, was a LADY. She so admired these traits exhibited by her own mother, that she in turn emulated them throughout her own life. There should be no question, that this lady, Elizabeth Ann Benjamin, more than fulfilled her life’s expectations. So thank you dear Bette, mother, wife, friend, and kindred spirit. You deserve God’s special reward for your outstanding example of dedication to marriage, motherhood and being a remarkable homemaker.
Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, March 18, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Ready Funeral and Cremation Service South Chapel, 261 Shelburne Rd., Burlington. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, March 19, at 10 a.m. in St. John Vianney Church, So. Burlington with burial to follow in Resurrection Park Cemetery.
In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bette’s memory to The Vermont Respite House, 99 Allen Brook Ln., Williston, VT 05495.