Elaine Hollander Benedict, a much loved music teacher and singer, died peacefully at home on February 9, 2020, at WindsorMeade Williamsburg, surrounded by her loving family. She was 82.
Elaine taught music in public and private schools in New York and New Jersey for more than 25 years, mainly in West Orange, NJ. She conducted her students in highly praised choral concerts and Broadway shows, often directing and playing the piano accompaniment at the same time. Besides playing piano, recorder, and guitar, she was a teaching specialist in the Orff-Schulwerk process of instructing young children to make music, using a variety of percussion type instruments, having studied at the Orff Institute in Salzburg, Austria. She led the Orff-Schulwerk Association in New Jersey for several years.
Coming to Williamsburg in retirement in 1998, Elaine was a soloist in the choir of the Williamsburg United Methodist Church. For almost a decade, she served as a docent at the Muscarelle Museum of Art, at the College of William & Mary, and chaired the docent committee for several years.
Elaine was born in Far Rockaway, New York, the daughter of Frederick Hollander and Martha Herzig, who had immigrated from Germany in the 1920s.
She graduated from the Eastman School of Music and University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, majoring in vocal performance and liberal arts, and was a member of the first women’s class to integrate the men’s River Campus in 1956. She met her husband, David Benedict, at the university and they married in 1958. She also received a master’s degree in education from Hofstra University. Classically trained, she sang solos in churches, conducted choral groups, and performed community opera concerts.
Besides her lifelong musical pursuits, Elaine loved to travel, play tennis and bridge, read, and do needle point and daily New York Times crosswords, but mostly to care for her family.
Elaine is survived by her loving husband, David, of nearly 62 years; her children, Catherine Lynn Benedict Lamb of Greensboro, NC, and Peter Charles Benedict of Hoboken, NJ; and grandchildren Kiersten (Lamb) Hess and Matthew Lamb. Her older sister, Virginia Hunter of Maplewood, NJ, pre-deceased her in January 2020.
A Celebration of Life will be held at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, 1333 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 22, followed by a reception. The Cremation Society of Virginia–Newport News assisted the family.
(Photo Credit: RGMunro)
Memorial contributions can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090 (memo notation: IMO Elaine Benedict / Restrict to research), and to Respite Care of Williamsburg United Methodist Church, 500 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.
Nurses and staff from the Sentara Hospice and the Williamsburg United Methodist Church Respite Care Programs provided the most complete and caring services to Elaine throughout the period of her illness. The family is most grateful for all that loving support.