Longtime Chillicothe resident was 100
CHILLICOTHE - Pauline "Polly" S. Benten, 100, a longtime Chillicothe resident, died at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, at McLean County Nursing Home in Normal, Ill., surrounded by her family.
Polly was born on Dec. 27, 1913, in Chillicothe, Ill., to Oscar E. and Flora Hart Smith. Polly graduated from Chillicothe High School in 1932. She graduated from Illinois State University (Illinois State Normal University) in 1936 and later received her master's degree from ISU in 1966. She married her college sweetheart, Thomas L. Benten, on June 29, 1940, in Chillicothe. They lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, until returning to Chillicothe in 1948.
Polly is survived by her daughters, Patricia (Richard) Burnett of Lockport and Jane (Randall) Middleton of Normal; son, James (Connie) Benten of Encinitas, Calif.; grandchildren, Connie (John) Renzi of Plainfield, Polly Middleton of Blacksburg, Va., Keith Middleton of Chicago and Damon Benten of Encinitas, Calif.; granddaughter-in-law, Angela Burnett of Lockport; and great-grandchildren, Sean, Erica and Jia Renzi of Plainfield and Luke and Max Burnett of Lockport.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Thomas Benten on July 22, 1976; and her grandson, Thomas Burnett on April 17, 2013.
Polly taught business education at Riverside-Brookfield High School in Riverside, Ill., for five years and at Chillicothe High School (IVC) for 22 years.
She was a lifelong member of the First United Methodist Church, serving in many capacities, including membership in Mary Martha Circle.
Polly was a member of Altrusa International, AAUW, Chillicothe Historical Society, ISU Alumni Association and Pearce Community Center.
Polly enjoyed traveling, playing cards with friends and volunteering in her community. She served more than 25 years as a volunteer in the administrative offices at Methodist Hospital in Peoria. She also was an active volunteer for the Central Illinois Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Polly's positive attitude, unfailing kindness to others and her loving smile will be remembered by her family, her many friends and her former students. Polly happily celebrated her 100th birthday with a wonderful family party on Dec. 27, 2013.
Polly's family would like to thank the caring, hard-working and dedicated staff at McLean County Nursing Home in Normal and Senior Star in Romeoville, where Polly resided the past four years.
Funeral services will be held at the First United Methodist Church, 1023 N. Sixth St., Chillicothe, on Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Ray Harrison officiating. Visitation will precede the funeral service from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday at the church. Burial will be held in the Chillicothe City Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Polly's memory to the First United Methodist Church in Chillicothe, Ill.
Weber-Hurd Funeral Home is in care of arrangements, and Polly's online memorial website may be viewed at www.hurdfamilyfunerals.com.
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