Betty Lou Benninger

Obituary of Betty Lou Benninger


Benninger, Betty Lou (nee Cole) born March 19, 1939 in Semans Saskatchewan, residing in Sauble Beach Ontario, passed away on April 28, 2023 at the Owen Sound Hospital due to a lengthy illness surrounded by her family.


Survived by her husband of 60 years James Sylvester, sons James C (Carolyn) of Comox B.C., Paul (Sandra) of Mississauga, and Bryan (Joanne) of Mississauga and 8 grandchildren: Logan, Cole, Rachel, Andrew, Wilson, David, Cameron, and Patrick. Missed by sister Ileen Darasch and brother Marvin Cole and his wife Judy.  Predeceased by her parents Clifford and Marion Cole, and brothers Douglas and Lorne.


Following her graduation from St. Mary's School of Nursing (Kitchener) in 1960, Betty Lou went on to provide care at various hospitals and nursing homes in Lachine, Toronto and Mississauga. She married her love James on June 15, 1963 at St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church in Kitchener. In 1972 the couple bought a small cottage at Sauble Beach which remains a memory-making base of countless gatherings for family and friends. Having provided nursing care for over 25 years, in 1984 Betty Lou retired from that profession. She embarked on the next chapter of her life and together with Jim went on to purchase a Dairy Queen franchise at Sauble in 1980. To this end she attended and graduated the 'Dairy Queen University'. This business not only provided solid summer employment for their three young sons but served to instill a strong work ethic in the boys, as well as phenomenal tales over the dinner table for decades. In 1988 they sold the Sauble franchise and moved on to purchase a DQ franchise in Oakville.  In 2006 they realized one of their lifelong dreams and demolished the modest cabin at Sauble Beach and built their 'forever' home on the site.


Together with Jim, Betty Lou made the most of her retirement years. Canadian winters meant trips to Florida, Myrtle Beach, Mexico, and other locations up until illness impacted her life.


Betty Lou inspired everyone as a woman of many varied interests, talents, and passions. She appreciated everything 1950's and enjoyed scouting flea markets and yard sales for special Coca-Cola collectibles and other unique items. Her largest prize was the purchase of her Boler trailer, which she enjoyed and meticulously refurbished to its original glory. An avid sports enthusiast, Betty Lou curled and played baseball (1st basewoman!) while growing up on the plains of Saskatchewan. Not one to be held back by circumstance, when she required goalie equipment as a young girl in Semans, she strapped on department store catalogs for goalie pads.  She went on to play ladies' ice hockey in Mississauga. Betty Lou always tried to catch as many Blue Jays' and Leaf's games as she could on TV and enjoyed watching right up until her last days.


We will always remember Betty Lou as someone who loved her family steadfastly, embraced everyone she knew with an open and curious heart and always had a witty and wry one-liner to sum things up. Nobody was a better listener, and when asked, could be counted on to provide experienced advice or a pragmatic opinion.


Family and friends are invited to share memories at the DOWNS AND SON FUNERAL HOME, Hepworth on Monday, May 8th  from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The funeral service will be conducted at the funeral home on Tuesday, May 9th at 11:30 a.m. Interment St. Mary's Cemetery, Hepworth with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, expressions of remembrance to the Kidney Foundation of Canada or the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated. Messages of condolence may be sent to the family through