Visiting with Edith “Deedy” Bennett

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Rev. Peter D. Crouch, PCHAS Vice President for Development, recently enjoyed visiting with Mrs. Edith “Deedy” Bennett, the daughter of Rev. N.R. “Pop” Hawkins, who was President of Southwestern Presbyterian Orphanage and School in Itasca from 1936-1956 — affectionately known today as the PCHAS Group Home Campus in Itasca.

Mrs. Bennett developed numerous friendships with the children on the Itasca campus and shared with Rev. Crouch that she hopes all of the children who passed through the Itasca orphanage during her father’s presidency were able to live fulfilling lives.  Thank you, Deedy, for the love you showed to the children living at the orphanage. We celebrate you!

We also celebrate her father, who accomplished so much during his presidency. In 1937, “Pop” founded what was called the “Educational Fund,” a fund that provided college student loans to youth who had “aged out” of the orphanage at 18. Today PCHAS’ Advanced Education and Support Services supports Group Home students, from preparation for college or vocational training when they enter their junior year of high school to graduation and beyond.  As they enter their senior year of high school PCHAS education staff help students seek admission, apply for financial aid and find housing. PCHAS supports the students financially as well. PCHAS pays for their room and board, tuition, textbooks and other school-related expenses. Today’s loans are forgiven if the students maintain a “C” average, so they are motivated to work hard and pass their classes.

Hargis Memorial Building, then used as a dining hall and community center, was built during “Pop’s” tenure. Today the Itasca community (of youth and staff) still enjoys eating meals together at Hargis Monday-Thursday each week. (On weekends meals are eaten in the group homes).

A faithful Christian like her father, Deedy married the Rev. Walter Bennett and they served several Presbyterian churches in and outside Texas for more than fifty years.  Mrs. Bennett lives at Grace Presbyterian Village in Dallas and remains active in her church and community.

Caption: photo by John Evans, Deedy and Peter’s mutual long-time friend.