Rev. Dorothy "Dottie" A. Benes, 86, of Williamsfield, Ohio passed away on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at her daughter's home surrounded by her family. Dorothy was born June 10, 1933 in Cleveland, Ohio to William G. DeKnipp and Thelma V. Foote. Dorothy was affectionately known by her family as "Pepper", a nickname given to her as a young child. After graduating high school, she was awarded a scholarship from Fenn College to study Business Management. Upon completing her courses, she was employed by the Bank of America in San Francisco. There she worked as a paralegal, bonded fiduciary and secretary to the vice-president of the Trust Department. She continued to work there while her husband was serving in the Korean Conflict. Once her husband was discharged they moved from California to the Thompson-Leroy area of Ohio and bought their first farm. Shortly after, they purchased a second farm in Williamsfield, Ohio where for 60 years Dorothy and her late husband Charles owned and operated the Pilgrim Goose Hatchery; a mail order hatchery of geese, ducks, chickens, swans, and other aquatic birds. Dorothy and her husband enjoyed raising sheep, and at one time had one of the largest sheep flocks in Ohio. She also ran a honey and egg business from their farm. Dorothy and her husband were featured on the Phil Donahue show and in many newspaper articles and magazines across the state. Dorothy coauthored "The ABC's of Raising Ducks and Geese", a manual on the rearing of poultry. She also wrote many historical articles and short stories. For many years local schools would arrange field trips to her farm for the children to interact with the animals and to see firsthand the chicks and ducklings hatching within the enormous incubators. This is where she earned the nickname "Mother Goose" within her community. Dorothy was an ordained minister for over 50 years. She presided as pastor, alongside her husband, of The First Spiritualist Church of Ashtabula, Ohio for 43 years. This church has long been considered the "Mother" of Spiritualist churches in Ohio. For their years of dedication to the church they were awarded a life membership to the Executive Spiritualist Church of the United States and Great Britain. She also traveled to many other churches to carry out her clergy work. Dorothy was very active in her community as well. She was a lifetime member of: The Ashtabula County Historical Society, National Rifle Association, and National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association. She was a member and past officer of: the Ashtabula County Beekeepers Association and Midwest Cactus and Succulent Society and a member of: the Wayne Historical Society, Ashtabula Gem and Mineral Society, and Lily Dale Assembly of New York. In addition to all of her talents, Dorothy was an avid gardener. She had her own greenhouse to grow cactus and flowers. She would grow sunflowers to harvest for the wild birds for winter feeding. She was a great animal lover, as noted by passing on her compassion for all creatures to everyone. Being fond of cats, for some time Dottie was engaged in the raising of Maine Coon cats. Her other hobbies included canning, baking, writing, and dressmaking. Her greatest love and joy in life has always been her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Dorothy is survived by her daughters Trixye Case, Caree Crisco, & Priscilla Arnold, her grandchildren Brittany Case, Zachary Case, Caitlynn (Tyler) Griffin, & Meagan Case, and her great-grandchildren Cheyanne Baise, Sadie Glover, Landon & Allyson (Little Pepper) Griffin & baby (Griffin) on the way. The family would like to thank Hospice of the Western Reserve (Amber, Pam, Mark & the rest of the hospice team) for their excellent care and compassion when caring for our loved one. A funeral service officiated by Rev. Violet Hutchinson and Rev. Joyce Perry will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at the Paine Funeral Home, Inc., 140 E. Main Street, Orwell, Ohio, 44076. Burial will follow at Hayes Cemetery, Wayne Township. In addition, a luncheon will be held at the Wayne Town Hall. Visitation will be held at the funeral home on Monday, February 3, 2020 from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Memorial Contributions in care of Trixye Case to be used for the family charities of choice. Condolences may be made at painefuneralhome.com
To plant a tree in memory of Dorothy A. Benes, please visit our tribute store.