Born: April 17, 1932; Died: December 16, 2013
Kathleen Bennie, or Kate as she was known to family and frieds, died at her Brunswick, Maine, home at the age of 81.
Born in Glasgow, she was the only child of Mary Rutherford Kemp Symington and Alexander Galbraith Currie.
Educated at Netherlee Primary School and Queen's Park Secondary School, she achieved a degree in chemistry at the Royal Technical College under the aegis of Glasgow University by taking evening classes and working in a research laboratory during the day.
Kathleen began her career in the Glasgow area as an industrial chemist, first at Rolls-Royce and then at IBM, and in 1957 she immigrated to Toronto, Canada, to be near her college classmate Samuel Bennie, of Paisley, who was based in Toronto while working as an electrical engineer. The couple was married at the Toronto City Hall on April 11, 1958.
Kathleen and her husband immigrated to the United States later in 1958, settling for a time in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Their first child, Fiona, was born in April 1961, followed by Alison in July 1962, and Ian in August 1963.
The couple returned to Scotland with their children for several months in 1965, and then in 1966, the Bennie family moved to New York State.
In 1968 Samuel's career took the family to Anchorage, Alaska, when he was named to a leadership position with the Distant Early Warning Line (DEWLine) project, an integrated chain of radar and communication systems designed during the Cold War to warn of an attack by the Soviet Union.
Four years later, the family moved into the home in Harmony, Maine, that they had purchased in 1967. As her husband's career took him across the globe in support of U.S. strategic interests, Kathleen and her three children settled into life on the family's farm where they raised and cared for animals, swam and skated at their man-made pond, and came to love the people, lifestyle, and values of rural Maine.
In the mid-1970s, Kathleen embarked on what would become a long and successful career as an educator first as a teacher, then as principal, and eventually as superintendent. To do so, she went back to college in her 40s, earning a bachelor of science degree in education at the University of Maine in 1975 and a master's degree in education—also at the University of Maine—in 1984.
After retiring as a school superintendent in 2000, Kathleen split her time between her home in Harmony and the homes of her children
She was a quintessential volunteer throughout her life, beginning at the age of eight when she served tea and pastries at the Armed Forces Canteen in Glasgow and knitted socks for British soldiers during World War II. She later volunteered at the League for Crippled Children; the YMCA; the Anchorage Museum; Head Start; local libraries; and other charities and political organisations. .
She became a US citizen in 1980 but remained deeply proud of her Scottish heritage and, later in life, she made annual trips back to the Glasgow to visit lifelong friends, with whom she maintained regular and devoted correspondence. She will be remembered by those who knew her as a private, intensely practical, and highly principled person who lived her life with a spirited sense of humour, a profound love and pride for her children and grandchildren, and with a feisty determination and strength of character that guided her through the final chapter of her life with dignity and grace.
Kathleen was predeceased by her husband of nearly 32 years on March 29, 1990. She is survived by her family in America, including her children and eight grandchildren.
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.