Carolyn F. Bennett’s love of the arts extended from the stage to the seats and beyond.
Ms. Bennett, who died Friday in her native Rumford at age 72, performed with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, worked as an usher at Portland Players, volunteered at the Portland Museum of Art and worked as a docent at Portland’s Victoria Mansion.
“It seemed that she was involved in all the major arts organizations in Portland at one time or another,” said her daughter Carol Bolden of Old Orchard Beach.
Although she was born and raised in Rumford and returned there for the final years of her life, Ms. Bennett and her husband, the late Arthur F. Bennett, loved all that Portland offered from a cultural perspective. Ms. Bennett worked as a personal assistant in the Portland Police Department for 20 years, and spent her nights involved in arts and culture.
She played the cello in the PSO from the early 1960s into the 1980s, recalled another daughter, Whitney Brichetto of New Gloucester.
“We practically lived at symphony hall when they were practicing,” Bolden said, “They were our babysitters.”
Their mother’s love of music was passed down through generations. Both of her daughters played instruments, and a granddaughter learned to play the cello.
“For our mother, it was pure enjoyment. She enjoyed the music and wanted everybody else to enjoy music, too,” Brichetto said. “She played for the enjoyment of others, and she encouraged us to play for the same reason.”
Her love of the visual arts similarly motivated Ms. Bennett to volunteer at the Portland Museum of Art. She appreciated an artist’s ability to create beautiful scenes and evoke an emotional response. Her decision to volunteer at the museum stemmed from her desire to immerse herself in that world.
“That’s also why she volunteered at Portland Players,” Bolden said. “The arts fulfilled her life, and she chose to spend time with things that she felt were important. She was very well-rounded and worldly, and she made sure that we were able to experience a lot of that stuff, as well.”
In addition to her work in the arts, Ms. Bennett was a board member of Camp Fire Boys & Girls Inc., volunteered at Rumford Hospital and was a member of the Rumford Public Library Growth Committee.
She is survived by her daughter Carol Bolden of Old Orchard and granddaughter Taylor Bolden of Rumford; daughter Whitney Bennett Brichetto and husband David J. Sr., grandson David J. Brichetto Jr., and granddaughter Renee M. Brichetto of New Gloucester; sisters Marilyn Lightman and husband Murray of Taunton, Mass.; Bette Swett-Thibeault and companion Peter Thibeault of Lewiston; and Janice Guimont and husband Brian of Gray; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws and friends.
Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or: