Helen Snyder Bennett

Aug. 11, 1921 to July 22, 2012

Helen Snyder Bennett – Born on August 11, 1921, died July 22, 2012 from the complications of Alzheimer’s disease.

Helen was an extraordinary mother to her two children, Stuart of Charlotte, Vt. and Kathleen Bennett Bastis of New York City and devoted wife and life partner to her husband, J. Gordon Bennett who predeceased her.

Theirs was a particularly adventuresome, travel filled life. From living in a chicken coop in rural Maryland where she learned to shoot Gordon’s pistol, to riding shotgun in a DC10 when her husband flew cargo as part of a fledging post war air freight enterprise, to creating homes in Paris in the early 1950’s with two children under age 5, and later in London and Brussels. Not only was she a master of packing and picking up stakes to make a home in another state or foreign country – she was game for exploring the unbeaten paths especially in Africa where much of Gordon’s business would take him. Fluent in French, she was at home navigating village markets in West Africa or diplomatic dinners in Paris and Brussels.

Always open minded and unfailingly positive she was a keen observer of people, trends and cultures and always found time to write about her experiences. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, Inc. Magazine, The New York Post as well as her local papers. She wrote stories in the chicken coop that she sent off to The Saturday Evening Post, she chronicled her experiences in Africa. She wrote of her twenty something American self in a twin set discovering the art and style of a perfectly fitting French suit. (The suit is now part of the collection at Fashion Institute in NYC). She chronicled the adjustment to her husband’s retirement which was published in the NYTimes “Hers” column entitled Two of Us is One Too Many. (Gordon went back to work).

Helen became enthralled with the choreographed bounty of the English gardens she admired while living in London. Upon returning to Connecticut she single handedly created one to rival the royals in her backyard. The garden prompted a monthly column, In the Garden, in her local paper that had a two year run. She published a children’s story “Jack’s Amazing Magic Bed” after visiting a dear friend in the hospital which told the story of a child whose hospital bed flew and took him all over New York City.

Other than her two children she is survived by her daughter in law, Pati Naritomi and her grandchildren Greg, Taka, Nick and Emiko.

Contributions in her name to the Perrot Memorial Library