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Louise A Bennett

September 1, 1954 ~ May 4, 2019 (age 64)
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Louise Ann Bennett, age 64, died May 4th, 2019 from complications associated with an allogenic bone marrow transplant to treat Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She was born September 1, 1954 in Denver Colorado and was the daughter of Delford Carl Schloo and Nina Alice Schloo (Ginther) of Brighton Colorado. Louise graduated from Brighton High School in 1972 and attended Missouri Southern State University and Colorado State University majoring in accounting. Louise worked as a Bookkeeper for the majority of her professional career. She was instrumental in creating the accounting system for our family business. When we moved from Salt Lake City to Grand Junction in 2002, Louise resigned her position with the electrical engineering firm she had worked at for 10 years. Within 3 weeks that company set her up remotely in Grand Junction stating they needed her expertise. She worked from home until she retired in 2014. Louise had the most amazing talent with plants. Several of her yards won neighborhood awards, culminating with her yard in Grand Junction being featured in the 2007 Botanic Garden Tour. She always brought fresh flowers in the house and had a great eye for floral arrangements. Orchids were her pride and joy and she often had 30 orchids blooming in the sunroom. When plants weren’t behaving to her standard she typically stated on the way to the garage, “live or die - it’s your choice”. More times than not they came roaring back from the brink. Louise was a quiet, spiritual soul. She chose her friends carefully, but was warm and welcoming to all. Nothing trumped family, especially around the holidays. She was the product of an early parochial education which shaped her beliefs and values. As time went by, she embraced a more diverse view of the world, believing that life was a series of lessons to be learned. And if you learned those lessons in this life it meant you didn’t have to repeat them. She believed in reincarnation and that this life was merely a stop on the way to something more eternal. On the grease board in the kitchen she recently wrote “Cancer is a complex lesson”. In August, 2018 she wrote in her journal: “The lesson is not forgetting – it is not beating myself up for forgetting”! We often talked about learning a lesson versus living a lesson learned. At one point recently she couldn’t find her sunglasses. After searching for a while, she found them and said, “the important thing is that I found them”. I commented that in days past her response likely would have been why aren’t those glasses where they’re supposed to be! Lesson learned and lived. Louise convinced me that retiring early needed to happen so we had ample time to play. She believed that the stress of a management career in healthcare was going to rob us of precious time together. It turns out she was right about the importance of early retirement. Little did we know then that it was her time that was short. Close to the end she still maintained she had more playing to do. Though she hated social media and time I spent posting adventures from our travels, in her more reflective moments she hoped that what we had done might influence someone else to make an informed decision about how they managed their time. Initially, Louise didn’t want to treat her leukemia with a bone marrow transplant. As usual, her reasons were sound. When she chose to proceed with the transplant, she designed a picture interlocking the words dignity, grace, strength and courage - the values she wanted to guide her battle with cancer. Her ultimate goal was to have the picture tattooed on her shoulder when the battle was done. Those values clearly helped shape her choices and actions over the past 12 months. Hospital staff who cared for her often commented about her grace and strength. Even when she was very ill, she greeted staff with a smile and her favorite refrain: “It is what it is”. Friends recently wrote: “I have watched your ‘prizefight’ since the beginning from afar. I’m not sure there are words to explain how it has touched me. I’ve never met you Louise, yet I choked up the other day as I read, because I most likely will never have the chance to meet someone I have so admired. Your smile has always been a sign of your strength – and a sign of hope. I am amazed at the obvious deep love you have for each other. Know that you have had quite the influence on me”. Another wrote: “Louise, you are such a hero. What you have shared over the last few years has made me look at my life choices with much more scrutiny and thoughtfulness. Thank you for sharing your experience and strength. It’s made a difference”. Finally, “You both have helped others, including me, to think of life in its moments. The dearest discoveries and memories can happen in an instant. So, I'm paying more attention to those”. Louise is survived by her spouse of 44 years, Steve and our daughters Ashley and Kendra. Ashley is married to Austin Armstrong and they have two daughters, Maren and Maddalyn. Kendra is married to Jason Cross and they have two sons, Taylor and Adrian. Louise has three sisters: Carla Weber, Merrilyn Leibbrandt and Ellen Schloo. She was preceded in death by her sister Maureen Schloo. She is also survived by her cherished kitties Henry, Sadie and Olivia. They will miss her caring and affection. Louise wanted a party, not a memorial service. She wanted no tears. Lemon drop martinis and Wheaties Dessert was to be served. That celebration will be held around her birthday, September 1st in Grand Junction. Please consider making a memorial contribution to the kind souls of HopeWest Hospice in Grand Junction. The help and guidance they provided during Louise’s final days was outstanding. The last entry Louise made into her journal was on Sunday, March 24, 2019. It turns out to be perhaps her greatest gift and influence. It was a call to all of us to look in the mirror and ask what kind of person you intend to be when you’re facing a really difficult challenge. “Feeling better – tired is still there. Stamina slowly building up. Simple things still challenging. Over all life is really good”.

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