BENHAM, Linda, age 76, of Kettering, OH passed away peacefully at her home after a long battle with dementia on November 2, 2023. She was comforted by the love of family and friends in her final days who shared appreciation for her indominable spirit, loving humor and service heart that touched many in her time.
Linda was born on July 11, 1947, to the late Delmar E. and Jean B. (Kirkwood) Barrere. She grew up in an active home with seven siblings, where she cared for many as one of the oldest big sisters. Growing up, Linda often talked about enjoying trips to Chicago to visit her grandparents and the magical Christmas cookie table her beloved Mother set-out every year-a love of sweets and special treats she passed on to her family. Linda was a serious student and very intelligent. She graduated from Beavercreek High School in 1965.
Linda had a strong work ethic throughout her life and began her career at Emery Air Freight. It was in this role that she first met and was pursued by a charming red head named Lamon. He brought a dozen red roses to her parent's home after having devised a clever plan to find out the name and address of the girl that immediately stole his heart. She was said to have responded that he was crazy and fell madly into the young love that turned into 56 years of devotion and memories together.
Linda retired from Kettering City Schools in 2014, where she served as a Parent Mentor, supporting families and teachers in their service of students with special needs. Throughout her career she was a passionate champion for children with disabilities and a highly respected advocate in the special education community. In 1976, Linda co-founded the Dayton Area Citizens Committee for Special Education and led the organization, growing from a dedicated volunteer group to a grant funded professional services association impacting hundreds of families.
It was in her role as a mother and grandmother that Linda found her deepest pride and joy. She raised her children with love, fun, and creativity and instilled in them by her example the values of family, respect, and kindness. As a grandmother, Linda became a co-conspirator in creating magical memories. She made a point to encourage each grandchild, ensuring they knew they could accomplish anything and making them all feel like they were her favorite.
Throughout her life, Linda was an avid reader and inspired curiosity and appreciation for books in the family. She loved nurturing flowers and plants, and for many years cultivated a bountiful vegetable garden for the children growing up. Linda's deep appreciation for family and history left a legacy of extensive genealogy research that she and Lamon built upon through travel and many visits to appreciate family cemetery memorials and libraries.
Many will remember that Linda created a welcoming home and heart for all. She and Lamon hosted a much-loved summer Luau celebration for family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers over the years. Linda had a gift for making everyone feel loved and accepted. People of all ages turned to Linda both professionally and personally over the years for her judgement free listening and gentle advice. She could be counted on for her empathy and humor touched brand of comfort, encouragement, acceptance, and connection.
Linda was preceded in death by her parents; sisters Carol Eckley and Debra Walters; brothers, Boyd and John Barrere. Survived by her loving husband of 56 years, Lamon H. Benham; sons, Michael (Barbara) and Jason (Karen) Benham; daughter, Kimberly Benham; grandchildren, Megan, Nathan, Lydia, Katherine and Grant; sisters, Beverly Crowder and Regina (Lee Roy) Spencer; brother, Dennis (Gerry) Barrere; brother-in-law, Randy Walters, and numerous nieces and nephews. A special thanks to the caring staff at Hospice of Dayton. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice of Dayton. Family will greet friends on Sunday November 19 from 11:00 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. at Routsong Funeral Home (Kettering Location). A brief memorial service will be held at 12:30 p.m. with a reception to immediately follow. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be made at www.routsong.com.