Fall 2017 In Memoriam

Cheri M. Bentley-Beckman, Letters Member, Palm Springs Branch

Cheri M. Bentley-Buckman of Palm Springs, CA and Idyllwild, CA passed away October 21, 2017 at the age of 76. Born in Kilgore, TX, she was an avid writer/poet and was published in several journals. Cheri served as Membership Chair for the Palm Springs Branch of NLAPW.

Cheri was passionate about the Idyllwild Arts Academy and was on their board of trustees since 2007. She was an active member of Summer Poetry in Idyllwild, Palm Springs Writer’s Guild, National League of American Pen Women, and Romance Writers of America. Cheri was also an ER and trauma volunteer at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.

 Idell Weiss, Art Member, Golden Gate Marin Branch

Idell Weiss died on Oct. 24, 2017, at the age of 83. Idell was a long-time Pen Woman, who joined the Golden Gate Marin Artists branch after many years with the San Francisco group.

What a joy it was to have her in our branch. She was so talented and we all loved her willingness to share her tips and advice with the rest of us. Her humor and warmth were also always present and appreciated. We will miss her greatly.

Idell became a very talented and accomplished painter, collagist, printmaker and jewelry-maker. She specialized in landscapes, both abstract and representational, and her works were shown in many juried shows, public spaces, galleries, and the John Steinbeck Museum.

In addition to being a Pen Woman, Idell actively participated in San Francisco Women Artists and the Hunter’s Point Open Studios. An art materials award will be presented to a local female high school artist in her memory.

Comments by Pen Women friends in the Golden Gate Marin Branch:

“My deepest condolences to Idell’s husband, children and extended family. I only knew Idell as a member of the Golden Gate Marin Branch of the National League of American Pen Women. She was clearly a very talented artist, and was also a delightful, warm, lovely person. We will miss her very, very much.” – Lucy Arnold, Golden Gate Marin Branch President

“I have known Idell as a friend, talented artist and person. She shall be missedby our group of NLAPW. I feel blessed to have known her. I wish her family my deepest sympathy and prayers at this time.” – Fran Hall

“Idell was a truly inspirational member of Golden Gate Marin Artists. Her warmth and humor, as well as the talent she shared with us all, made her a valuable addition to our group, as well as a beloved friend to many. Deepest condolences to her family – she is greatly missed.” – Debbie Patrick

“Idell will be missed by so many artists in several art organizations not only SFWA, but Marin Society of Artists and the National League of American Pen Women. This very talented lady always greeted friends with a big smile. My condolences to her husband and family.” – Donna Solin

“Idell was one of my favorite art friends, she was SO talented, I was always eager to see which of her works were in the American Art Collecter book each year. My conversations with her were always engaging and fun. My condolences to her family, we will all miss her sorely.” – Catherine Moreno

“Idell and I shared the same birthday of July 6th. She and I belonged to both the SF Women’s Artist Group and the Marin County chapter of Pen Women. Not only was she a very good artist she was a lovely person to know. I will miss her very much.” – With respect, Judy Barnett

Submitted by Debbie Patrick, Golden Gate Marin Branch; comments found on Legacy.com.

Kay O. Cornelius, Letters Member, Huntsville Branch

Kay Cornelius, a charter member of the NLAPW Huntsville Branch and who served as the Alabama State Association President from 1998 to 2000, passed away on January 23, 2017 at the age of 84.

She was a respected teacher and very successful author who had lived in Huntsville for most of her life.

Kay graduated from George Peabody College in Tennessee (now a part of Vanderbilt University). It was there that she met her future husband, Don.  After receiving her bachelor’s degree in English, she taught two years in Nashville and 23 years in Huntsville (at Central Junior High, Ed White Junior High, Grissom High, and Lee High) during which time she earned her M.Ed degree.

During the summers, Kay wrote short stories, prose, historical articles, and eventually novels and biographies, over 20 books. After retirement, she devoted herself to full-time researching and writing.

Some of her most notable works were Love’s Gentle Journey, Toni’s Vow, Twin Willows, Anita’s Fortune, and Francis Marion: The Swamp Fox.

Notable Awards:

– Sullivan Award (Peabody College, 1952)

– In May 1998, the Academy for Lifetime Learning at the University in Huntsville profiled Kay.

– Kay’s Great-Great Grandfather fought in the Civil War Battle of Champion Hill on the Confederate side. She was awarded a Commemorative Medallion that honored descendants of those who fought in the Battle.

We will truly miss this lovely Christian lady who possessed a great sense of humor and outstanding ability to tell stories that captivated and inspired her many readers.

Submitted by Jane Allen, Huntsville Branch

Stella “Maurine” Vance Geldmacher, Art Member, Southeast Louisiana Branch

Maurine passed away August 19, 2017 at the age of 95, in Lafayette, Louisiana, where she built her new life after losing her home to hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Maurine exhibited in many shows and received numerous awards over the years in watercolor, oil and mixed media. She received the Le Grand Award from Le Petiit Art Guild in New Orleans. She has had many write-ups in the New Orleans Times Picayune. She has won best of show in three juried exhibits. In 2008 she traveled to the Holy Land and later had a solo show at the Lafayette Art Gallery displaying 20 scenic paintings from her trip.

Maurine said, “Art is extremely important to me. It is a release, a mentor, a friend, a Blessing. When I am inspired I can paint for hours and immerse myself in the painting. It is therapy and it restores my soul.”

Maurine will be dearly missed by the art community, but especially by her Southeast Louisiana pen sisters.

Submitted by Charlene Swift, SELA branch treasurer

Arlene Montgomery Spencer, Letters Member, Indianapolis Branch

Past Indianapolis Branch and State NLAPW President Arlene Montgomery Spencer passed away September 28, 2017 at age 89. She was born October 23, 1927.

Arlene served in every office and board of the Indianapolis Branch since the 1990s and wrote the history of our Branch which started in 1923. She was a willing worker and gracious hostess of poetry and history programs for the Branch. We will miss her greatly.

Read more: Obituary for Arlene Montgomery Spencer

Submitted by Jill Chambers, Indianapolis, IN Branch