Louise Van Bronkhorst ’52 Bennett
Louise Bennett died peacefully on November 20, 2018 at the age of 89.
Louise was born July 25, 1929 in Conrad, Montana where she lived her early childhood until her family moved to Washington State in the early 40’s. She graduated from Nooksack Valley High School in 1947 and then continued her studies at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.
Louise was an excellent student and often helped others with their studies, in particular one upper class-man by the name of James Gordon Bennett. Jim and Louise married in September of 1951, at the Nooksack Valley Reform Church.
After Jim’s graduation from Hope College, Louise and Jim moved to back Washington where Jim continued his education and career in social work. They lived in Bellingham, Seattle and Shelton before finally settling on Bainbridge Island in the big red farm-house on Eagle Harbor where they raised their five children. Jim worked in Seattle while Louise expertly managed their home, family and garden, all the while keeping watch for the ferry boat’s arrival at the dock in Eagle Harbor so she could be there to bring him home at the end of the day.
Louise and Jim created a life full of adventure and fun for their young family that included hiking and camping on the Olympic Peninsula, building a mountain cabin in the Cascades, and boating in the Puget Sound and Islands. They also found time to cultivate a large and close group of friends with whom they sang, danced, dined and vacationed for the rest of their lives.
Louise spent many years working in some of Bainbridge’s most iconic retail shops, including Esther’s Fabrics and Soybeans ‘n Such (NKA Willow’s Naturally) and later volunteered her time in thrift shops around the Puget Sound. She was also an active member of The Rolling Bay Presbyterian Church and later St. Barnabas Church, where she spent many years singing in their choirs.
Louise was an avid reader and writer and chronicled years and years of their lives in spiral bound notebooks.
After their children were grown they moved to Whidbey Island where they lived for several years in a red house with a large garden. This was followed by several seasons of “snowbirding” between their beloved Ski-Tur Valley cabin and Mexico. Eventually, the challenges of travel and the distance from their family brought them back to full time living in Shelton, Washington where they lived until Jim’s passing in 2015. For some reason, that house was yellow.
Jim was the ‘love of her life’. They were married for 64 years. She is preceded in death by her parents Alexander and Helene, siblings Ruth, Alan, John and David. She is survived by her five children and their spouses along with 11 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Those who knew her will miss her kind and angelic nature, generosity, wit and natural beauty.