Ms. Kathleen Elaine Benson


Ms. Kathleen Elaine Benson departed this world on Dec. 9, 2018. She was born on Dec. 17, 1950, in East Hartford, Conn., the second eldest child of Burnal and Gloria Benson.

From the start, Kathleen (known as Kathy by her friends and family, Mama to her daughters and grandchildren) exhibited a deep love and appreciation for nature which continued throughout her life. Her beloved menagerie over the years included not only rescued dogs and cats, but also parakeets, squirrels, turtles, ducks, geese, chickens, raccoons, and mourning doves. She possessed the deepest shade of a green thumb and could regularly be found happily tending to her thriving flower gardens, veggie gardens, herb gardens, and lustrous array of indoor plants. Every August she loved to gather with her family under the dark summer skies and watch the Perseid meteor showers rain celestial embers overhead. Her connection to the skies above, reverence for the ground under her feet, and gratitude for the creatures she encountered was a vital part of her being, and one she imparted to her three daughters with every opportunity she had.

Kathy was a rarity in this often hard and cynical world. She possessed a sweet nature and a trusting and loving soul. She was compassionate, sincere, and earnest; opening her heart to every soul she encountered, whether those she knew for years or people she encountered on her daily errands. She had a brilliant wit which delighted all those who knew her. Her eccentric and silly outlook on life frequently illuminated those fortunate enough to be within her orbit.

An artist at heart, Kathy loved to paint watercolor landscapes of the local Eastern Shore countryside, weave dreamcatchers and God’s eyes, and sing along, in her beautiful soprano, with her favorites, Carly Simon, Air Supply, and Stevie Nicks, just to name a few.

Kathy is survived by her three daughters, Willow Zieger and her husband, Adam, of Eastville, Robyn Hartley and her husband, Joseph, of Richmond, Va., and Larisa King and her husband, Perry, of Davis, Calif. She frequently expressed pride and love for her daughters, into whom she instilled kindness, open-heartedness, gratitude, and awe for the magical world she brought them into. She also leaves behind her mother, Gloria Benson, of East Hartford, Conn.; three sisters, Karen Tavernier and her husband, Dave, Kim Beaver and her husband, Rick, and Kris Benson, as well as one brother, Keith Benson and his wife, Anna, all of Connecticut. She leaves her five grandchildren, Linsey Otto and her husband, Tyler Thornes, of Virginia Beach, Va., Lily and Noah Hartley of Richmond, Va., and Atticus and Coen King of Davis, Calif.; a great-granddaughter, Luna Thornes, of Virginia Beach, Va.; and her beloved doggy and longtime best friend, Munchkin.

She is predeceased by her father, Burnal Benson; two sisters, Kelly Benson and Kaye LeBrun, and by her longtime partner, Floyd Gaskill.

To honor her request, a private service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the SPCA Eastern Shore, Inc., P.O. Box 164, Onley, VA 23418.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at

Arrangements were made by the Doughty Funeral Home in Exmore.

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