Mary Josephine (Jo) Farley Bennett

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Mary Josephine (Jo) Farley Bennett

August 19, 1919 – November 7, 2018

Jo Bennett was born in St. Luke’s hospital in Boise on August 19, 1919 to Franklin Gale and Clare Calland Farley. She was named after her uncle Joseph Farley who died serving his country in WWI and her aunt Mary Calland.

Jo died on November 7, 2018 at the age of 99. A celebration of her life will be held at Rost Funeral Home, 500 N. 18th East at 10:30 on November 12, 2018 in Mountain Home. A reception will follow at The Elks Lodge at 325 S. 3rd W. St. in Mountain Home for all friends and family.

Jo grew up in Mountain Home, graduated from MHHS in 1936, entered the University of Idaho that fall and pledged Alpha Chi Omega sorority. Unfortunately, the struggling economy during the Depression forced her, after one year, to return home to work. Over the next several years she worked in her friend Mary Alice Spofford’s father’s surveying office, at her father’s bank and, as war loomed, for the Selective Service. She moved to Seattle in the early forties to work for a sorority sister’s father at Metro Goldwyn Meyer. After the attack on Pearl Harbor the whole country was concerned that Japan would launch air strikes on the West Coast. While in Seattle she volunteered to work at a central air traffic monitoring system set up to receive phone calls from spotters located up and down the coast looking and listening for all kinds of aircraft. The volunteers received the calls on headsets and tracked the reported aircraft by placing small square blocks on a large round board called a filter board placed in the center of the room. She also volunteered to sew black-out curtains for Seattle resident’s windows to make an enemy night attack more difficult for Japan.

In 1944 her childhood friend, Dorothy Bennett Cochran’s brother, Army Captain Robert W. Bennett was preparing to return to his duty station on Alaska’s Aleutian Islands after a short leave in Mountain Home. He wrote Jo asking if she would go on a date with him during his layover at Fort Lewis, WA. After he returned to duty he wrote and asked Jo to marry him.

Bob and Jo were married on September 14, 1944 in the chapel at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Boise. Their honeymoon was spent in a Pullman car on a train to Fort Bliss near El Paso, TX. Shortly after arriving, Bob received orders to report to Camp Pendleton near San Diego, CA where he was to train for the expected invasion of mainland Japan. In December 1944 Germany surprised the Allies with a massive blitz known now as the Battle of the Bulge. Bob’s orders were changed and he was shipped to Belgium. He returned home from Europe in October 1945 to his war bride and a month old child.

After the war Bob and Jo joined his parents, Richard H. and Grace J. Bennett, in the family sheep ranching business. They spent the rest of their marriage in Mountain Home raising their family and working the family ranch. After Bob’s death in 1981 Jo moved to Boise where she lived for the rest of her life.

Jo was a willing contributor to her community serving her church, St. Luke’s hospital and many organizations and boards. She was an active seventy-eight year member of Mountain Home P.E.O. Chapter W.

She was an avid golfer, accomplished pianist and passionate bridge player. She enjoyed golfing with her friends, her children, her grandchildren and even her great grandchildren. She played her last round of golf when she was ninety-five.

Jo is survived by her five children: Dick (Marsha), Carol Chipman (Bill deceased), Kaye Yrazabal (Mark), Barbara Turner (Terry) and Bob (Diana); twelve grandchildren and twenty-four great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband Bob, parents Frank and Clare Farley and brothers Gale C. and William F. Farley.

The family would like to extend a thank you to all those who cared for her during her declining years including her new friend Harriett Fease whose companionship was a gift and sustained her to the end. We would also like to extend a special thank you to her dear friend Elaine McCalley who supported her through her decline and blessed their long friendship with many cards and phone calls.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations in Josephine’s name to St. Luke’s Elmore Foundation, c/o Luke’s Foundation, 190 East Bannock St. Boise, ID 83712 or (online) or a charity of your choice.

“Jesus loves me this I know…”