Eleanor (Ella) M. Benner, age 88, died and went to be with her Lord and Savior on Sunday, January 10, 2021 at the Hospice House of Androscoggin in Auburn, ME following a brief illness. She was born in Lancaster, PA on July 16, 1932 a daughter of the late Carlton D. and Eleanor (Lafferty) Dobbins.
Ella earned a “Christian Worker” degree at the Eastern Bible Institute in Green Lane, PA and went on to assist a pastor and his family in Rutland, VT for several years. She had always wanted to marry a minister. She got her wish when she met Fred W. Benner. They met at a corn roast held by mutual friends while she was living in Vermont. They married after eight dates and celebrated their 60th anniversary in 2018. Ella ministered alongside her husband at Wayside Chapel for more than five decades. She was well suited to her role as a pastor’s wife because she was always ready to chat with those who needed comfort or prayer.
Ella loved music and she loved to sing. Primarily, she sang the alto part, but she had a remarkable ability to pick out harmony for other parts as well. Although she never had formal lessons, she learned to play the piano and the organ; she played for the church's services at Wayside Chapel, weddings, and funerals - she was always ready to play whenever anyone needed her to. She also participated in various nursing home ministries over the years, playing the piano for related services.
Mrs. Benner raised her family while juggling a number of different responsibilities, including working as the bookkeeper of her husband’s business, Benner’s Home Decorating for many years.
Mrs. Benner was pre-deceased by her brothers: Carlton and William Dobbins and her sister, Joan Lopez.
She is survived by her husband of 62 years, Fred W. Benner of Farmingdale; three sons: Andrew Benner and his wife, Stephanie, James L. Benner and his wife, Karen, and Stephen F. Benner and his wife Lisa all of Farmingdale; two daughters: Susan J. Shepherd and her husband Eric and Linda B. Stahlnecker and her husband Jim all of Farmingdale; 13 grandchildren: Devin, Bradley, Eva, Westley, Nicholas, Elizabeth, Joshua, Nathaniel, Julia, J. Benjamin, Emalee, Amanda and Sarah, and she was aunt to many nieces and nephews.
There will be no public visiting hours. A Celebration of life will be held in the spring. Burial will also be in the spring in Carter Cemetery, Farmingdale.
The family requests that donations in Eleanor’s memory be made to: Wayside Chapel, 75 Neck Rd., West Gardiner, ME, 04345.