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Marylynn Lee Bennink

Posted October 31, 2012 in Obituaries, Windsor Heights

July 25, 1936 – October 26, 2012

Marylynn Bennink

Marylynn Lee Bennink, 76, passed from this life on Friday, October 26, 2012, at Bright Kavanagh House in Des Moines. In agreement with her wishes, cremation rites have been accorded. A memorial service celebrating Marylynn’s life will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 3, at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, located at 4126 Ingersoll Avenue in Des Moines. The family will greet friends from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, November 2, in the Waveland Hall at the church. A private committal service will be held at the Plymouth Congregational Memorial Gardens.

Marylynn was born on July 25, 1936 in Fargo, North Dakota to Lester G. and Mary Lee Whisnand Orcutt. At that time, Lester was with the Civil Aeronautics Commission of the Federal Government. When World War II began, Lester, a WWI veteran, was commissioned as an officer in the Army Air Corps. Because of his knowledge of flying and his skills in management, he was given command of staging bases to prepare bombers for immediate readiness to be flown wherever they were in need. Due to the demands of her father’s commission and the moves involved, Marylynn attended eleven elementary and four junior high schools. When the war ended, Lester and family moved to Ottumwa, Iowa, where Lester managed the Naval Station, which was to become the Ottumwa Airport.

While attending Ottumwa High School, Marylynn was involved in all the choirs and music groups, loved to study, and took as many advanced classes as possible. She was offered a large scholarship to attend Drake University to study with Andrew White, who had connections with the Sydney Dietch Studio and the Metropolitan Opera in New York. While in college, she was a soloist in their annual production of the Messiah Concert at KRNT Theater. Marylynn later graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Music Education and three masters in Voice, Music Theory and Music Education. Marylynn loved to study and learn. It was during this time when she met the love of her life and future husband, Carroll Bennink.

After graduation, Marylynn left for New York and taught at Traphagen Junior High School in Mt. Vernon, NY. She was also fortunate enough to be chosen to study with Sydney Dietch in Manhattan. Prior to moving to New York, Marylynn turned down a full scholarship to the Brighton Institute of Modern Music because her father did not like the idea of her leaving the country.

On August 25, 1962, Marylynn and Carroll were united in marriage in Hutchins, TX, where her father and mother had moved for their retirement. The newlywed couple moved together to Mt. Vernon, NY, where Carroll joined the teaching staff in the Mt. Vernon school system.

In 1964, Drake University asked Marylynn to join their staff because of her expertise in Voice, Music Theory and Music Education. She and Carroll returned to the Des Moines area, where Carroll taught at S.E. Polk High School. Again at Drake, this time while teaching, Marylynn was featured as a soloist in their annual production of the Messiah. On August 3, 1966, their son, Andrew was born. In 1970, Marylynn joined the Teaching Staff at the Des Moines Public Schools. She taught at Elmwood, Phillips, Hanawalt and finally Jackson Elementary Schools, until Marylynn’s retirement in spring of 1999. Over the years in Des Moines, She was a member of the SAI Women’s Professional Music Fraternity. Marylynn shared her musical gift and shined as a Soloist Section Leader at First Christian Church, Grace Methodist Church, a Director of Music at First Lutheran Church, and finally Plymouth Congregational Church. For several years, she also shared at the Beth EL Jacob Synagogue in Des Moines and performed in musicals at Charlie’s Show Place in Des Moines. When Marylynn wasn’t singing or performing, she enjoyed spending time making stained glass art, sewing, drawing and restoring furniture. Most of all, she loved being with her family and grandchildren.

She is survived and lovingly remembered by her husband of 50 years, Carroll Bennink of Windsor Heights; son, Andrew Bennink and his wife, Lauri also of Windsor Heights; and two grandchildren, Elisabeth and Elijah Bennink. Marylynn was preceded in death by her parents; and an adopted sister, Maureen “Scoot” Selner.

In agreement with Marylynn’s wishes, the family has respectfully requested that any memorial contributions be made to the Plymouth Congregational Church, for the Pipe Organ Fund.


Information provided by:
Iles Funeral Homes
Westover Chapel
6337 Hickman Road
Des Moines, IA 50322

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