The Telegram
  • Bertha “Bea” Hemenway

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  • Bertha Bender Hemenway, 96, passed away peacefully on Sept. 11, 2013, at the LeRoy Village Green Nursing Home, where she had been a resident since 2006. Bea had lived in Batavia since 2001, and had been a resident of Frankfort from 1944 until her move west.
    She was born April 12, 1917, in Cazenovia, the only child of the late Glenn E. and Laura M. (Rathbun) Bender. Bertha graduated from Chittenango High School in 1933 and from Oneonta Normal School in 1936. She held teaching positions in Portlandville and VanHornesville before marrying Charles S. Hemenway, Jr., her husband of 53 years. He predeceased her in 1994. She resumed her career in 1953 as a second grade teacher for the Ilion Central School District and remained in that position until her retirement in 1972.
    Surviving are two daughters, Lynne H. Whetzel, of Ithaca, and Marcia (John) Riley, of Batavia; four grandchildren, Susan L. Whetzel, of San Francisco, Calif., Karen E. Whetzel, of Ithaca, John C. (Jessica) Riley, of Batavia, and Kathleen R. (Fred) Pape, of Lake George; five great-grandchildren, Alexis, Rebecca and Elizabeth Pape, and John D. and Campbell Riley; a dear sister-in-law, Helen W. Hemenway; and three nieces, Patricia Harrison, Carol (Bob) Williamson and Betty (Tony) Saba, all of Pennsylvania.
    Bertha was the ultimate teacher and hostess, always striving to improve whatever activity she was engaged in and always viewing her own work with a practiced and critical eye. She was keenly aware of her position as a role model in the community and did her utmost to live up to that standard. She was a longtime member of the Frankfort First Baptist Church and its Young Women’s Guild, and attended the First Baptist Church of Ilion, where she was known as the “Story Lady,” and the Batavia First Baptist Church. Bea was a life member of the Order of the Eastern Star, Oneida Chapter, a Meals-on-Wheels volunteer and a literacy volunteer. She was an active organizer her whole life and could be counted on to initiate opportunities to socialize, especially if they could include her homemade cookies or a meal of some kind. Bertha was a cancer survivor who valued her friends and neighbors, remaining in the close relationships with those she had known since before she had married. Her last several years were spent under the watchful and loving care of the excellent staff at the LeRoy Village Green Nursing Home, whose dedication will be long remembered and appreciated. Bea never overlooked an opportunity to make a salient point or teach an impromptu lesson, and that impetus to instruct has been highlighted by her final wish that her body be donated to the University of Rochester as an anatomical gift.
    A Celebration of Life for Bertha B. Hemenway will be held on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m. at the Michael S. Tomaszewski Funeral and Cremation Chapel, 4120 W. Main St. Rd., Batavia, NY 14020. Memorials may be made in Bertha’s memory to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-1718 (www. cancer.org) or Literacy Genesee-Orleans, 301 North Street, Batavia, NY 14020.
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