|Birth: ||Dec. 3, 1928|
|Death: ||Jul. 25, 2012|
Joanne Dossett Benitez entered into the nearer presence of her Lord July 25, 2012, beloved by her family and many friends to whom she was devoted.
She is survived by her husband, the Rt. Rev'd Maurice M. Benitez, retired Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas, by their three daughters Jennifer Benitez Shand, Leslie Anne Benitez, and Deborah Benitez Smith, by their six wonderful grandsons William Benitez Shand, Peter Johnson Shand, Sturgis Taylor Smith, Charles Dossett Smith, Isaac Benitez Young, and Evan Benitez Young, and by their sons-in-law the Rev'd William M. Shand, III and Dr. James L. Smith.
Joanne was born in Mayfield, Kentucky December 3, 1928, the daughter of Rupert Dossett and Hazel McClain. She spent her early years in Kentucky until her father relocated his business to Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated from Paschal High School and Texas Christian University where she majored in English. While in college she met a young Air Force officer, Maurice Benitez, who was in flight training. They were married December 18, 1949, beginning a wonderful marriage which lasted 63 years.
During her husband's Air Force career, they were stationed for three years in Germany, a happy chapter they later called their "three year honeymoon." When they returned to the United States she encouraged her family, now including two young daughters, to discover life in the church. In time her husband discerned a call to ordained ministry, and they moved to Sewanee, Tennessee for him to pursue theological studies. Following their years in seminary, she lived in Lake City, Jacksonville, and Ocala, Florida. As her husband served in Episcopal congregations there, Joanne volunteered in her communities and taught Kindergarten and children's Sunday school. In 1968 the family moved to San Antonio where her husband served as Rector of Christ Church.
Joanne obtained state certification, and accepted a position teaching at Will Rogers Elementary School, one of the first in the city to integrate Anglo, African American, and Hispanic children. She organized volunteers to start a breakfast program and a dental clinic in the school community. During these years she recognized the challenges caused by learning differences among her students, and she dedicated her energy and Christian commitment to developing strategies for helping them, acquiring certification in Language and Learning Disabilities at the University of the Incarnate Word. Joanne wrote the curriculum for, and implemented Project OLE: Operation Life Enrichment. Each summer, women of the parish tutored young children from disadvantaged neighborhoods to improve their reading skills; teenagers of the parish taught swimming lessons and led other recreational activities. In 1974 she moved to Houston when her husband accepted a call as Rector of St John the Divine. She volunteered as a special education consultant, encouraging and guiding the parents of children with special needs. Later, she enrolled in graduate programs at the University of Houston, earning her M. Ed. in Counseling. She worked as a counselor until her retirement. Even while engaged in her professional pursuits, she was always a faithful and energetic servant of her Lord. She derived great joy in teaching at St John the Divine, where her weekly Bible class brought together 50 to 60 women for Christian fellowship, joyful music, and study of the scriptures. During the years her husband served as Bishop of the Diocese of Texas, she joined him in his travels, yearly visiting some 150 congregations. She was a familiar presence on these trips, always warmly received, and she treasured the hospitality of many friends along the way.
They retired to Austin in 1994 where she delighted in time spent with her grandsons and travel adventures with her husband. She had many interests that reflected her lively and bright personality. She was an amateur geologist, acquiring an extensive collection of rocks and minerals from many parts of the country. Her family liked to tease her, claiming she never met a rock she did not love - or want to bring home! She loved spending time on the beaches of Texas and Florida and was also an enthusiastic collector of shells. An avid reader who read widely, she was a devoted fan of Agatha Christie, and owned all of her mysteries.
Her family wishes to thank the staff of Clare Bridge, Summit NW Hills and Odyssey Hospice for their care and guidance. Her family will treasure always this lovely and vivacious lady. Even as they miss her, they rejoice in their sure and certain hope that she is with the Lord whom she loved and served faithfully all her life.
Memorial services will be held Monday, July 30th at St. Luke's on the Lake, Austin at 2:00 pm. An additional service with internment will be held at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, August 1st at The Church of St. John the Divine in Houston. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Church of St. John the Divine, 2450 River Oaks Blvd, Houston, TX 77019, Episcopal High School, P.O. Box 271229, Houston, TX 77277, St. Luke's on the Lake Episcopal Church, 5600 RR 620 North, Austin, TX 78732, or The Alzheimer's Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave, 17th Floor, Chicago, IL 60601. Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com
Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78705 - (512) 452-8811
Published in Express-News on July 28, 2012
Rupert O. Dossett (1902 - 1947)
Hazel McClain Dossett (1904 - 1982)
Created by: Texas Roots
Record added: Jul 28, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 94346507
Paschal High School|
Added: Jul. 28, 2012