Esther "Rusty" (Bennett) Anderson (1921 - 2018)

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Esther Bennett "Rusty" Anderson, 96
SACO - Esther Bennett 'Rusty' Anderson, of Saco, passed away at Gosnell Hospice House on July 4, 2018, with family and dear friends by her side. She was 96.
Esther Elizabeth Bennett bounced into this world in Westbrook on Oct. 10, 1921, the daughter of Annie Casey and Arthur Loring Bennett. Her raging red hair and the twinkle in her eye marked 96 extraordinary years as wife, mother, friend, dancer, cheerleader, teacher, gardener, chef, cat and dog whisperer, skier, traveler, beach seeker, Girl Scout leader, community doyenne and faithful servant of God. Along the way, her life-love, Swede Anderson, named her 'Rusty', and she became Mom, In-law, Grammy, and GiGi to two daughters, two grandchildren and two great grands.
Rusty is survived by her daughters, Leslie Bennett Anderson of Saco and Kristi Anderson Pawlak (Will) of Newfields, N.H.; two grandchildren, Brian Wade (Adaire) of Cincinnati, Ohio and Kathryn Worsham (Jeff) of Middleburg, Va.; two great-grandchildren, Barrett and Madeleine Bennett Wade; two step-grandchildren, Bruce Pawlak of St. Louis, Mo., Brian Pawlak, Wilder, Kentucky, and their children; and, her beloved Maggie, the best cat ever.
She was predeceased by her parents Annie and Arthur Bennett; in-laws, Anna and J. Wilgot Anderson; and, her truly beloved husband, Lloyd Merritt Anderson.
Rusty was educated in the local schools of Westbrook and graduated in 1943 from Gorham Normal School as an Early Childhood teacher. She taught kindergarten at the York Village School, and was a teaching assistant in the Saco schools. Later, Rusty applied her teaching and leadership skills as a volunteer, serving the children of Sweetser. She was also active with the Webber Auxiliary, the Saco Museum, various charity fundraising drives, Neighbors in Need, and Cardiac Capers (as a high kicker). As a woman of faith, Rusty was a devoted member of the First Parish Congregational Church, teaching Sunday School, and serving many suppers and fairs over the years.
Saving the best for last, Rusty's mutual admiration relationship with her husband, Swede, set the stage for a lifetime of adventure. They met in 1942 under the basketball hoop at Westbrook High School. She, a vibrant, freckle faced cheerleader, and he, a dashing Thornton Academy athlete. Thus began an exciting life of children, friends, and international escapades, often accompanied by dear friends.
Two major accomplishments of their life together were the establishment, with Willis and Eleanor Watkins, of Anderson-Watkins Insurance, and the expansion and support of the Seaside House Hotel, a family business in Old Orchard Beach; they were helped along in this venture by relatives in the Rhode Island Swedish clan, including the Munson and Hodeen families. The strength of their partnership was an unbreakable bond that created a journey of love, laughter, joy, sorrow and lessons learned along the way.
The family wishes to acknowledge with great appreciation the amazing support provided by her caregiver team, headed by the extraordinary Kara Woolverton, Ashley Ronzo, Gale Donovan, and Southern Maine Home and Gosnell Hospice staffs. A special thank you to Dr. Peter Emery for his attentive care of Rusty over the years, and to the Rev. Deborah Breault for her caring ministrations. Thanks also to Roger Bernier and Sue Fournier for their devoted care of 239 Ferry Road and Rusty.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 15, at the First Parish Congregational Church of Saco. Burial will be at Laurel Hill Cemetery, where she will be laid to rest with her husband Lloyd. Arrangements are by Dennett, Craig and Pate,365 Main St, Saco.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in Rusty's name to:
First Parish Congregational Church
12 Beach St.
Saco, ME 04072 or:
a cat

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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on July 11, 2018
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