With heavy hearts and deep love, we say goodbye to our beautiful mother, grandmother and friend, Audrey Lyne Bennett (née James), who passed away peacefully at home on August 30, 2022, at the age of 88.
Audrey was born in Duncan, BC in 1933 to horticulturalists Jack and Dorothy James, and was the younger sister to Mary and Val. She moved to Kelowna with her family at age 11, where she was able to develop her passion for all things aquatic: competing on the swim team, synchronized swimming, teaching, lifeguarding, and participating in across-the-lake swims on Okanagan Lake. Her athleticism continued as she became proficient in tennis and golf and, in later years, taught aqua aerobics classes. She was a thoughtful and caring individual who also worked as a volunteer at KGH. Disciplined by nature, she kept her mind active throughout her life with hobbies like bridge and reading.
Audrey's passions led her to the love of her life, Bill (William Richards Bennett). As the story goes, Bill spotted Audrey on a float while she was competing for the title of Lady of the Lake, and he knew she was the one. Married in 1955, Audrey and Bill had four sons: Brad (Birgit), Kevin (Leah), Stephen (Shayna), and Greg (Connie); followed by eight grandchildren: Michael (Christie), Carmen (Anthony), Jarrett (Leissa), Makena, Lyndon 'Ridge', Corey, Reece, David (Kami); and three great-grandchildren.
The couple raised their sons on the family property by the lake in Westbank, where Audrey lovingly tended the orchard and gardens with her inherited green thumb. Lasting memories were created from the many gatherings with close family friends at the property, and from the many winter weekends spent at the family's Big White condo.
When husband Bill entered politics in 1973 and subsequently served the province as Premier from 1975-1986, Audrey was the rock that held the family together. Although preferring her private life, she graciously rose to the occasion whenever called upon to represent the province alongside her husband to royalty and heads of state from around the world.
Despite losing Bill in 2015 and her youngest son Greg in 2019, Audrey continued to live a full and independent life. While dignified in her reserve, she was also feisty and fun, and we will miss everything about our dear matriarch. We are blessed to have had her in our lives for as long as we did, and we will love and cherish her forever.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the KGH Foundation, www.kghfoundation.com.
A Celebration of Life will be held on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, at 10:00 AM, at SPRINGFIELD FUNERAL HOME, 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC.
Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.springfieldfuneralhome.com.
Springfield Funeral Home