Velma Bennett

Velma May Bennett, age 93, of O’Fallon, Illinois, born January 31, 1927, in Buckhannon, West Virginia, to William Hartsel Smith and Sophronia Elizabeth, nee Phillips, Smith, died Monday, June 22, 2020 at Cedarhurst, Shiloh, Illinois, with her husband and sons at her side.

Velma grew up in Buckhannon, and was active in church, school, and service organizations.  She was a 1944 graduate of Buckhannon-Upshur High School. She graduated from the local college, West Virginia Wesleyan, in 1948, and worked as a teacher before marrying Don Bennett, her high school sweetheart.

Following Don’s graduation from West Virginia University, the couple embarked on a long Air Force career which took them from coast to coast and overseas assignments in Germany and England.  They enjoyed each and every place they were assigned and worked together as a team.   She always supported local needs in the military community as a volunteer, and spent hours in service to thrift shops, the American Red Cross, and, after Don’s retirement from the Air Force, in the O’Fallon Township Food Pantry.  

She felt privileged to be a member of PEO, an organization supporting women’s education, for over 50 years.  If you visited her home, you knew she loved Dalmatians and Cardinals, but what she loved most was her Christian faith and her family, and she was, in return, loved dearly for making these her priority.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Betty and Melba, and her infant son Michael Douglas. 

Surviving are her husband Don, whom she married on August 31, 1948, sons Bob (Dusty) of Tallahassee, Florida, and Tom (Patty) of O’Fallon, Illinois;  grandchildren Sarah (Pete) Howard, Polly (Jon) Baker, Kate (Shawn) Lapides, Josh Bennett, Kristen Bennett, and Kimberly Bennett; great grandchildren Maddy Howard, Emily Howard, Charlotte Howard, Bennett Howard, Mae Baker, Jude Baker, Silas Baker, Chipper Lapides, and Harper Lapides; sister Winona Aylestock of South Riding, Virginia, and brother Bill Smith of Robesonia, Pennsylvania; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. 

Memorial donations are suggested in the form of contributions to Shriner’s Hospital for Children in St. Louis, Missouri.  Online condolences may be shared with the family at

Visitation: The family will receive friends from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m., Monday, June 29, 2020 at Wolfersberger Funeral Home, 102 W. Washington Street, O’Fallon, Illinois.  A second visitation will be held beginning at 10:00 a.m. at First United Methodist Church, 504 E. Hwy 50, O’Fallon in the hour preceding the funeral service.

Funeral service will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday June 30, 2020, at the First United Methodist Church, 504 E. Hwy 50, O’Fallon, Illinois, with Reverends Don Long and Jack Swank officiating.  Private family graveside service will follow at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to Wolfersberger Funeral Home, O’Fallon, Ill.


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