The children and family of Charlene Mae Wood-Banfield honor and celebrate the life of our devoted mother and grandmother, who passed away peacefully surrounded by loved ones at her daughter’s home on Sunday, October 24, 2004. Though hearts are aching, her family is grateful that she has been released from her suffering and that she is at peace in her heavenly home, following a long illness.
Born on July 12, 1921 to Charles and Nettie-Mae Benjamin Wood, Charlene was raised on a family farm in the Trumansburg area. She met and married Lawrence Raymond Banfield in 1938. The two made a family and spent most of their 55 years together in the Ithaca and Lansing area.
Charlene was preceded in death by both her parents and by her eight siblings. She suffered the loss of her life partner, Lawrence, in December 1993. Her son-in-law, Rodney Bruce Myers, also predeceased her. She is survived by her eleven devoted children and their spouses and partners; James (Peggy) Banfield, Sandy Myers, Lawrence (Anne) Banfield, Connie (Jerry) Evans, Judith Meade, Jill (Melvin) Holub, Jack (Nancy) Banfield, Kathleen (Carl) Haff, Kathryn (Paul) Tunison, Terry Banfield (Karla Nardi), Barry (Tara) Banfield. Her twenty-five grandchildren, thirty-three great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren also survive her.
Following Lawrence’s death, and for the past eleven years, the family has pulled together to support Charlene’s desire to live independently. Children and grandchildren continued to spend time with her regularly until the end of her life. She was always happiest when surrounded by her beloved ones, even when she was at her most frail. Typically a good sport, Charlene often allowed her granddaughters to cajole her into all manner of adventure. Even as she braved a two-year encounter with serious illness, she tried always to put forth her best effort to greet her family members with warmth, good humor, and welcome. She serves as a model of courage and tenacity for those she leaves behind.
Charlene worked at many jobs over the years to help support the family, but it was the raising of her children that was her primary endeavor. She was very intelligent and she had a passion for words and writing that is her legacy to her children. It is much to their credit that Charlene and Lawrence raised their children to be individuals, but of equal importance they were taught to consider themselves as interconnected parts of a whole – the heart of the family. They successfully created a committed and loving culture – a large family in which each member continues to recognize the blessings of having each other. We are forever in our parent’s debt, and we thank them for giving so much of themselves and for giving us one another.
Charlene was a member of the Varna United Methodist Church where she found a faith family within which to learn and grow spiritually. As her illness progressed, she also found support in the hearts of the members of the Trumansburg United Methodist Church, the home church of her daughter, Kathryn and her family.
According to Charlene’s wishes, calling hours will be private for the immediate family. Funeral services will be held on Thursday October 28, 2004 at 11:00 AM at Trumansburg United Methodist Church, officiated by Rev. Robyn Wernham and Rev. Jeffrey Losey. Prayers of Committal will follow at the East Lawn Cemetery, 934 Mitchell St., Ithaca. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Charlene’s memory to the Varna United Methodist Church, 965 Dryden Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850 or to Hospicare and Palliative Care Services of Tompkins County, 172 East King Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850. Arrangements have been entrusted to the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South St., Trumansburg.
Page Submitted By: Joseph L. Sibley, Director