Pamela K. Bennett, age 72, passed away 4/27/ 2019 after bravely battling pancreatic cancer with her husband John and close friends by her side.
She was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on a snowy Easter Sunday on April 6, 1947 to Pearl Ness Fiske and Clarence A. Fiske. The Fiske family moved to Phoenix, Arizona, in 1959 where Pamela attended Sunnyslope High School. She was an athlete and edited the women’s sports column for the student newspaper. Pamela tutored children with learning disabilities and helped raise funds for the less fortunate. She also modelled professionally, beginning at the age of five, and worked in a clothing boutique.
Pamela attended Glendale Community College in Phoenix, graduating in 1967. Immediately after graduation, Pamela was hired as an airline stewardess with American Airlines. She was based in Boston, Massachusetts, and, due to her extraordinary beauty and charm, was chosen to represent American Airlines on television, radio and at public relation events. She was, at one point, slated to be a stewardess on Lyndon Johnson’s re-election campaign jet. Pamela lent stories of this exciting time in her life anonymously to the author of the tell-all book about stewardess life, “Coffee, Tea or Me”. Pamela ended her flying career in 1969 and joined the KIWI Club, an association of retired airline stewardesses of which she was still a member, and moved back to Phoenix, Arizona, where she gave birth to her son, Blair.
In Phoenix, Pamela was hired by the charitable foundation of the screen actress, Loretta Young. Pamela and Blair lived with Ms. Young for a year and Pamela became a spokesperson and fundraiser for Ms. Young’s foundation for “at risk” children. She also taught classes to the children. She showed them how to paint and do silk screening and helped them learn to cook.
Pamela moved with Blair to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1977 to accept a position running a clothing boutique for an up and coming fashion designer. She lived in Hawaii for several years before moving back to San Francisco where she began work as a broker’s assistant with the securities firm, Dean Witter. It was there that she met the love of her life, Dr. John Bennett, a Cambridge University educated biochemist and reproductive physiologist. It was indeed “chemistry’ that John felt upon meeting Pamela. Sparks flew and the two were married in 1987.
Pamela and John lived in the San Francisco Bay area where Pamela was president of the local KIWI Club and was active in many charities. In 1994, Pamela and John moved to Durham, NC, where John had accepted a new position to build a research company to develop oral insulin therapy.
In Durham, Pamela became a member of the RDU Kiwi Club where she made enduring friendships and was much loved. In retirement, Pamela enjoyed socializing with her many friends in San Francisco and Durham, North Carolina. She also enjoyed doing needlepoint, read and watched many British mysteries and cooked many of John`s favorite gourmet dishes.
Pamela was predeceased by her parents, Pearl and Clarence Fiske, her brother, Donald and sister, Patricia. Leaving to cherish Pamela’s memory are her husband, Dr. John Bennett, her son Blair Bennett of Texas and three grandchildren, Alyssa Bennett of Florida, Chase Bennett of Florida and Summerlyn Bennett of Texas. She also leaves her special daughter-in-law, Susan Bennett of Florida and John’s children, Julian Bennett (wife Maria and step grandchild Thomas), and Simone Bennett of California.
She leaves a brother, Robert H. Fiske (wife Elaine) of Minnesota to mourn her and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
A funeral service will be held 2:00pm Monday, May 6th at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 82 Kimberly Drive, Durham, with the Reverend Robert Kaynor, officiating. Flowers are welcome.