WILMORE - Mary Esther Guiles Bennett, age 85, of Wilmore, widow of Rolland L. Bennett, passed away Tuesday evening, April 11, 2017, at St. Joseph's Hospital in Lexington after an extended illness. She was born July 17, 1931 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Clarence S. and Nellie M. Guiles. She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, Forrest and Eugene, and by her husband of 47 years. Mary spent her adult life as an elementary teacher, graduating from Creston High School and Western Michigan University, then receiving her master's degree from Georgetown College. Her first teaching job was on an Indian Reservation in Tyonek, Alaska accompanied by her husband. After returning to Michigan, she taught third grade in Coopersville. The family moved to Greenville, Illinois in 1968, where she began teaching in Donnellson, Illinois. In 1974, the family moved to Wilmore, where she once again taught third grade, this time at Wilmore Elementary School. She retired in 1998. After retirement, she and her husband traveled to Davao, Philippines to teach at Faith Academy for two years. Following this ministry, she and her husband traveled extensively until his death in 2000. Some of her favorite pastimes were gardening, reading, and helping others, often assisting those who were recovering from illness or surgery. She was an energetic inspiration to those with whom she was acquainted, and was eager to share her faith in God. Mary was a longtime and very active member of the Wilmore Free Methodist Church. She was also a member of the Wilmore Women's Club and Jessamine County Retired Teachers. Surviving her are two sons, Sanford E. and wife Susan, of Greenville, IL, (formerly Fairfield,CA) and Leland G. and wife, Gail, of San Jose, CA. She also has two granddaughters, Alisha Bennett of Boulder, CO, and Katelyn Bennett of San Jose, CA. Other survivors include nieces, Mary Evelyn Steman of Ohio and Florence Hempel of Florida, and several cousins and extended family. Visitation will be from 5-8pm Sunday April 16, 2017 at the Wilmore Free Methodist Church. Additional visitation will at 9am Monday April 17thwith the funeral service immediately following at 10am. The service will be officiated by pastors Darryl Diddle and Dean Cook, with burial in the Blue Grass Cemetery beside her husband. Her family will serve as pallbearers. Hager & Cundiff Funeral Home is handling the arrangements. Memorials in lieu of flowers are suggested to the Wilmore Free Methodist Church Benevolent Fund or to Oakdale Christian Academy.
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