Margaret Sandelin Benson obituary | State College, Pennsylvania

Name of the deceased Margaret Sandelin Benson
Age 82
Date of death 08/24/2022
Date of Birth 06/17/1940
funeral home Koch Funeral Home

Margaret Sandelin Benson (82) died on August 24, 2022 at Juniper Village in State College, Pennsylvania after a battle with cancer, which she endured with grace and humility. Her husband, Thomas Walter Benson, was by her side.

Margaret was born on June 7, 1940 in New York City to Margaret (Peggy) Stronach Sandelin and Carl Sandelin. Her mother later married Robert Joyce, an artist, and Margaret gained a brother, Robert Joyce, Jr., and a sister, Lizabeth Joyce Bieber.

Margaret graduated in 1958 from the High School of Performing Arts in New York City as a theater major. In 1958, she won a full New York State Regents scholarship to the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, where she was active in the dramatic society, with roles in many productions and behind the scenes for others. . For a summer job in 1960, she was recruited as a model by the Eileen Ford agency in New York; her photography has appeared in Mademoiselle, Life and several other magazines. Margaret graduated from Cornell University in 1962 and embarked on a master’s degree in human development at Cornell, which she completed in 1966.

At Cornell, she met her future husband. Margaret and Tom were married on September 3, 1960 in Brooklyn, NY. They were each other’s lifelong loves, best friends and constant companions. They had two children, Margaret (Daisy) Benson and Sarah Benson. Margaret was a wonderful mother and grandmother and encouraged her daughters and granddaughter to be strong, independent women.

Her love of dance and theater lasted Margaret’s entire life. At State College, she danced at Jane Shepherd Dance Studio and performed in productions at Boal Barn, including I Remember Mama. During the pandemic, she participated in remote family readings of Shakespeare, Wilde, Shaw, etc. On road trips to visit grandparents in Connecticut and Long Island, she read classic children’s literature to the family, and years later she read books remotely to her granddaughter. -beloved daughter.

Margaret was a strong advocate for young children and early childhood education. When her own children were young, Margaret worked with Head Start in Buffalo, NY, and when the family moved to State College in 1971, she worked as a home daycare coordinator and educator and again worked with Head Start in the central region.

Margaret was a lifelong learner and was always up for a new challenge. In the 1980s, she entered the doctoral program in human development and family studies at Penn State. Her thesis research examined children’s pretend play and storytelling. She graduated in 1990 and accepted a position teaching human development and family studies at Penn State Altoona, where she also served her colleagues as a program coordinator. Margaret was an advocate for child care and early childhood education, nationally, internationally and at Penn State. She was a member of the Society for Research in Child Development and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. She has published research in academic journals and won service and teaching awards from Penn State Altoona. She retired in 2014. Margaret loved teaching and wanted to prepare her students to be good global citizens. To that end, she created and directed a summer study abroad program for Penn State students in Human Development and Family Studies in Rome and later in Florence, Italy, where students have the opportunity to learn about another country’s practices and policies in caring for children, families, and the elderly, as well as to learn about living in another country.

After her retirement, Margaret spent time with family and friends and worked on a variety of writing projects, including writing a Regency romance novel and a children’s book. She was also a member of a memoir writing group.

She is survived by her husband Thomas Walter Benson (State College), her daughter Daisy Benson and daughter-in-law Hannah Peacock (Colchester, VT), her daughter Sarah Benson and son-in-law Richard Ruth (Annapolis, MD), and her granddaughter -daughter Lucia Benson-Ruth (Annapolis, MD).

A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.

The family thanks the staff at Mount Nittany Medical Center, Shaner Cancer Center and Juniper Village for their support during his final illness. Instead of flowers, Margaret might suggest supporting the upbringing and welfare of children, adopting a cat, or reading a book to a child.


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