Anne Rebecca Benner was born June 29, 1922 in Warrenton, VA to John R. and Sudie Hite (Skinker) Benner. Anne's family lineage stretches back to Colonial Virginia, including the Hite Family's "Belle Grove Plantation," and the family of President James Madison. The family farm on the outskirts of town where Anne grew up, was witness to the Civil War. Her aunt and uncle would often take Anne to their home in Washington D.C. during summer breaks for personal enrichment. On one such occasion, she was invited to swim in the White House swimming pool. Unfortunately, she didn't have her swim suit with her, so she didn't.
After graduating from Warrenton High School in 1939, Anne returned to high school for a postgraduate year to take additional business courses, as her parents thought she was too young to go to college at 16. Anne then graduated from Mary Washington College, now the University of Mary Washington, in Fredericksburg, VA in 1944 with a BS in Education. She also earned her Virginia teaching certificate. After college, Anne was employed by the Office of Price Administration - Enforcement Division, and later at the U.S. Army Recruiting Office in Warrenton. She was also an active volunteer at the local USO during WW II, where she met her future husband, Merris C. Gee.
Before Anne and Merris, a Fremont County farmer, were married, Anne's mother insisted that Anne travel to Iowa to meet her likely in-laws and make sure that Iowa was where she wanted to live her life. She did just that, and on September 6, 1947 she married Merris. They settled on a farm in the Farragut - Shenandoah area. Anne worked at May Broadcasting Company prior to obtaining her Iowa teaching certificate.
Her business education teaching career started at Farragut High School in 1948. After teaching three years there, she moved to the Sidney High School Business Education Department, where she taught two years. In 1953, Anne graduated from the University of Nebraska - Omaha with a Masters of Education degree, majoring in guidance counseling. She then earned a vocational certification by taking advanced business education courses at both the University of Iowa and Northwest Missouri State University.
In the fall of 1956, after having two children, Carol Anne and Jill Renee, Anne began her tenure at the Shenandoah Community High School, where she taught various business classes for 35 years. After a combined 40 years of teaching, Anne finally retired in June of 1991, and was elected to a three-year term on the Shenandoah Community School Board.
During all of her wonderful years in Shenandoah, Anne became a lifetime member of the National Education Association, and was an alumni association member of the University of Mary Washington and the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She was a member of the Alpha Omicron Chapter of Delta Gamma Society International for Women in Education, and a lifetime member of the American Legion Auxiliary. She was a member of the First United Methodist Church and served on the staff parish committee there. She was involved in the Southwest Iowa Theatre Group as her age permitted, was a regular attendee and supporter of the Shenandoah Music Association, and regularly gave blood. She also volunteered for the American Red Cross blood drives in Shenandoah.
Throughout Anne's lifetime she enjoyed traveling. She and her family frequently traveled to Virginia to see her friends and family. She also visited all 50 states and 13 foreign countries. Anne enjoyed her life in Shenandoah, especially with her good friends and neighbors.
In 2010, Anne moved to the Des Moines, IA area to be closer to her daughter, Jill. It was at that time that she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. In June of 2014, Anne moved to the Seattle, WA area to be with her family that had recently relocated there. She was able to enjoy having all of the remaining family members near her for the first time in more than thirty-five years.
Preceding her in death are her husband Merris C. Gee (1983), daughter Robin Kimberly Gee (1965), granddaughter Kellie Renee Polk (1978), father John R. Benner (1993), mother Sudie S. Benner (1984), brother Jack R. Benner (1935) and nephew Steven R.Benner (2005).
Left to honor her memory are her daughters Carol G. Zarbock and Jill R. Polk both of Redmond, WA, granddaughter Astara R. Zarbock of Redmond, WA, brother William R. Benner and wife Margaret Lee of Warrenton, VA, nephew Don R. Benner and family of Stanton, VA and nieces Jennifer L. East and family of Leesburg, VA and Amy L. Benner of Warrenton, VA.
Celebration of life graveside service will be held 10:00 am, Friday, August 4, 2017 at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Shenandoah.
Visitation with the family will be held from 5:00 pm until 7:00 pm, Thursday, August 3, 2017 at the Hackett-Livingston Funeral Home in Shenandoah.
Memorials may be directed to the First United Methodist Church of Shenandoah, S.W. Iowa Theater Group or Shenandoah Music Association.
There are no tributes yet.
We encourage you to show your support by adding a tribute above:
- Share your favorite memory of Anne
- Offer your condolences to the family
- Light a virtual candle