Kathryn Stroup Bennett

14 October 1925 - 12 June 2022

Under: Obituary
Kathryn Stroup Bennett

Scottsdale, Arizona - Kathryn Stroup Bennett, 96, of Scottsdale, AZ, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, June 12, 2022. Her life was marked by a long and loving marriage, many adventurous travels, and a love of home and family.

Kathryn was born in Newell, NC, near Charlotte, on October 14, 1925. She was one of six children (Paul, David, Kathryn, Ben, Mary, and Don) of the late Rev. Paul A. Stroup, long-time minister of Back Creek Presbyterian, and Macie Garrison Stroup. A bright, brown-eyed, redheaded young girl, then called Kitty, she studied piano and played for her father's church services. She retained a love of music all her life. Kathryn met her future husband, James E. Bennett, Jr., in 1936 in fifth grade. They enjoyed recounting how it was not love at first sight. Their relationship blossomed after he returned from WWII.

Kathryn was Valedictorian of her high school class and went on to graduate from Erskine College, in Due West, South Carolina, during WWII with a degree in science and emphasis in chemistry. During WWII, after graduating early, she tested ammunition quality as a chem lab technician in Charlotte.

In 1948, she married James E. Bennett, Jr. (Jim), in a ceremony performed at Back Creek Presbyterian Church by her father. After honeymooning in New York City, Jim and Kathryn lived in Vetville in Raleigh, North Carolina where Jim was studying civil engineering at North Carolina State on the GI Bill while Kathryn worked as a lab tech. Kathryn kept the receipt for their honeymoon hotel tucked into the side of her mirror for the rest of her life. Their first child, Kathryn Jane (Kathy) was born in Raleigh.

After Jim's graduation they began a series of adventurous moves as Jim's civil engineering career took them around the US and the world. Kathryn was talented at quickly setting up a home and making friends in new places. Kathryn and Jim were a loving couple with a loving family and close friendships wherever they went.

Their second child, James Edward III, was born in Winston Salem, NC. Then, it was on to Richmond, Virginia, suburban Washington, DC, and Idaho Falls, Idaho, where their third child, Wayne Markham was born. In Idaho Falls the family first learned to ice skate on frozen irrigation canals. Jim, who was becoming an expert in concrete, moved on to the new Niagara Power project where they lived in the village of Youngstown near Niagara Falls. Summer vacations were spent visiting family in the South when they were not hosting relatives who came to visit and to see Niagara Falls. In winter, they flooded an adjacent park area each winter and the whole neighborhood enjoyed ice skating there.

The year 1961 marked big changes for Kathryn and Jim. Jim was hired on a Dam project in Thailand and the family accompanied him to upcountry Thailand. They flew first class on famous Pan Am Route 1, spending some time in San Francisco, Honolulu, Tokyo, and Hong Kong on the way to Bangkok. Although slightly terrified when she arrived with three children in tow, Kathryn soon became leader of the woman's group at the construction camp and edited their cookbook with the aide of her daughter Kathy. Kathryn baked her own bread and even made marshmallows for her homesick children and guests. She taught Wayne to read, while Jimmy and Kathy studied in a one room schoolhouse. Side trips to Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Penang were enjoyed by the whole family. Kathryn and a friend flew with Kathy from Bangkok to India. After visiting the Taj Mahal, Kathryn drove to Mussoorie to drop Kathy off at boarding school where she began High School. When Yanhee Dam (now Bhumibol Dam) was completed, the whole family flew back to the States, stopping in Egypt (camel rides for all!), Athens (and a side trip to Delphi), Rome, and Madrid, and visiting the cities and museums.

In 1964 Jim, Kathryn, and family settled for a long time in Naperville, Illinois when Jim went to work for Harza Engineering in Chicago as a consulting engineer. He made many short trips for consulting jobs while Kathryn stayed in Naperville. This gave time for Kathryn to obtain an additional degree, this time in Library Science, and she enjoyed working at the Naperville Library and making professional friends. Jimmy and Kathy graduated from High School and moved on to college.

Eventually they relocated to Jacksonville, Florida where Wayne graduated from high school and also left for college. Soon Jim and Kathryn moved to Ras Tanura, Saudi Arabia, where Jim worked for Aramco from 1977-1985 while Kathryn worked in materials management. Jim and Kathryn enjoyed many vacations together including trips to Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. A favorite trip was a lengthy vacation in Paris where they stayed in a suite near Place Vendome and were joined by family members.

In 1985, leaving Saudi Arabia for the last time, they spent several months driving together through Jordan, Syria, Turkey, and Europe and returned to the States with lots of pictures and many exciting and sometimes scary stories.

They returned to Naperville, Illinois and Jim returned to Harza, initially in Chicago and later in Rome, Georgia, where they eventually retired. They continued to travel and spent time with their far flung children and grandchildren. Jim took Kathryn for a long-anticipated second honeymoon in Bermuda, which Jim had promised Kathryn when he proposed.

In 2003, Jim and Kathryn moved to Westminster Village, a retirement community in Scottsdale, Arizona, near their daughter. In 2008 they celebrated their 60th anniversary with an extended family reunion in Scottsdale that most of Kathryn's siblings were able to attend. Jim passed away in 2013 just after Kathryn moved into the skilled nursing facility at Westminster Village.

Kathryn was known for her kindness, quick wit, and love of family. Her ashes are interred with Jim's in the garden at Valley Presbyterian Church in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Kathryn is survived by her brother Don, her sister Mary, her three children, seven grandchildren and an increasing number of great grandchildren.

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