Cornelia Curry Morrison Benfer

Cornelia Curry Morrison Benfer, “Sally,” age 87 of Topeka, died on April 28, 2019. She was born October 4, 1931 in Long Beach, CA, the daughter of Mar Alexander and Helen Cornelia Morrison. She attended schools in Seal Beach, CA and Topeka, KS. Sally was a 1949 graduate of Topeka High and 1953 graduate of Washburn University, (W.U.) earning her degree in English Literature. She later re-entered Washburn to study art and in 1982 received the Pollack Award as outstanding student for her exploration of color in oil painting.

Sally was a member and chapter President of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, at W.U. She was also an active volunteer, teaching Junior Great Books in the Topeka Public Elementary Schools. She gave her time and talent to organizations and events such as Opportunities in the Community, Goals for Topeka, Mulvane Art Museum Board, Go Fourth Celebration, and the Junior League of Topeka.

In addition to her artwork, family and community activities, Sally was an avid non-fiction reader, especially delighting in books about art history, antiques, philosophy, and religion. She devoted many hours to her perennial garden, enjoyed cooking, and exploring new recipes.

Nothing in this world was more precious to her than the gift of time spent with her family and friends. It almost always included the opportunity to chat with loved ones while devouring her highly sought after Party Mix. Grand children, genealogy and historic Topeka were favorite topics as well as what was blooming in her garden or which birds were fluttering around her beloved feeders.   

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband James E. Benfer, Jr., son John Curry Benfer, and brother Dr. Donald H. Morrison.  She is survived by her sons, James E. (Jeb) Benfer III (Teri), Daniels P. Benfer and daughter Anne B. Hesse (Scott). Also surviving are four grandchildren: Michael Benfer, Lucy, Sam, and Peter Hesse, and two nieces: Nancy M. Howard and Cynthia M. Schoenfeld.

We are thankful for the legacy of enduring love that she leaves in all of our hearts. It is really okay to be “good enough”. Sally will be dearly missed by her family, pals, and her feathered friends.  

Our heartfelt thanks and gratitude go to the nursing staff and aides at Great Lakes Caring and Hospice.

Per her wishes, Sally was cremated. A private, family internment will be held at Topeka Cemetery. The Memorial Gathering celebrating her life will take place on Saturday, May 11th from 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM at St. David’s Episcopal Church located at 3916 SW 17th St. Topeka KS 66604.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions in Sally’s memory to one of her favorite charities.

The Helping Hands Humane Society of Topeka, Inc
5720 SW 21st St Topeka, KS 66604

Friends of the Mulvane Art Museum
1700 SW Jewell Ave Topeka, KS 66621

St. David’s Episcopal Church
3916 SW 17th St Topeka, KS 66604

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle” – Ian Maclaren

12 “Cornelia Curry Morrison Benfer

  1. TO Sally’s Family:

    My sincere sympathy to you. I knew Sally through Mulvane Art Museum, where I worked for many years. She & I shared stimulating thoughts on art & current affairs in the art world. I have fond memories of
    that smart girl! Elizabeth V. Wunder

  2. So sorry for your loss. We know this was a difficult journey and you took great care of your mom. Take comfort in knowing that she is in a better place and you did everything you could for her. The Lippes

  3. Such a nice obituary. I cried remembering our conversations about my hummingbird obsession. I will miss her . Hope to have her grace .miss her and family

  4. I have fond memories of your mother as a kind neighbor on SW Collins Ave! I am so sorry for your great loss.

  5. Please accept my condolences and deepest sympathies for your family’s loss of your beloved mother. May you be comforted by the outpouring of the love surrounding you.

  6. I wish to extend my most heartfelt sympathies to the family of Sally Benfer. Jeb, Daniels, and Anne…and all the extended family as well.
    Sally was such a joyful and fun person to work with in my years at her favorite flower shop..Porterfield’s. I have fond memories of her.
    May she Rest In Peace. She was an amazing person to know.
    Mark J. Lamantia

  7. From the Look family to the Benfer/Hesse family, we love you and we pray for peace to be with you! Your Mother is Loved!!

  8. Anne & family. I am so sorry to hear about your Mother. She was a great lady. Blessings to you and all. God’s peace. Fr Don and Marcie Davidson

  9. We are saddened that Sally has passed away. She was a special lady and will be missed. We are very sorry for your loss.

  10. Jeb Anne and Daniels I was sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. During the years I worked for your father she always was very kind to me, showing her thoughtfulness and generosity. I’ll remember her as a truly classy lady.

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