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Obituary of Augusta Mills Benjamin
Augusta Mills Benjamin of Haddam, formerly of Essex, died on June 28, 2022, at the age of 95. She was born on New Year's Day in 1927 to Harvey Allen Mills, owner of Brown Brothers, a coal and oil distributor, and Iva Brown Mills, bookkeeper for the business, in Little Falls, New York. Augusta attended Dana Hall and Mount Holyoke College, graduating in 1949 with a bachelor's degree in English literature. A highlight of her college years was a year spent at St. Andrews University in Scotland where she met life-long friends and it led to a tendency to dress her children in plaid and swoon at the sound of bagpipes for years to come. Augusta married Kenneth Benjamin in 1949. They moved to Cleveland, Ohio after a short stint in Boston where Ken completed his studies at MIT. Augusta’s first love was books – she read widely and brought her extensive knowledge of literature to a variety of positions in libraries and bookstores. After moving to Wilton, Connecticut in the ‘60s, she worked at bookstores in Ridgefield and Westport, then discovered an interest in archival work while living in Providence, Rhode Island, and continued that work with the Quaker records at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. A move to Essex in 1996 provided Augusta with the opportunity to volunteer at the Essex Historical Society, Connecticut River Museum, and the Florence Griswold Museum in the historical records. She also enjoyed sorting donations for the sale and mending books at the Essex Library. As her children left home, Augusta was drawn to travel – to Russia and the Galapagos Islands on her own in the 1980s, later to Asia, Australia, and all over Europe with Ken. She was delighted to attend her 50th reunion celebration at St. Andrews University. Augusta kept extensive journals recording her thoughts, observations, and favorite places. At one point, she wrote about her realization that It's okay to sit on a bench and soak up one's surroundings and NOT rush around to museums, historical sites, and myriad gardens for an afternoon or morning. In her later years, Augusta was very fond of her book groups and the Essex Library poetry group. Augusta's husband of 68 years, Kenneth, predeceased her in 2017 at which point she took up residence at The Saybrook at Haddam where she found a warm and welcoming community. She leaves behind her four children: Barbara Haines (Stephen) of Essex, Jenny Wucher (Joseph) of Redwood City, California, David Benjamin (Romani) of Melbourne, Australia, and Sarah Benjamin (John Holland) of Truro, Massachusetts, as well as six grandchildren and four great-grandsons. The family gives thanks for the loving care Augusta received at The Saybrook at Haddam, with the help of VITAS Hospice, and above all from her constant companion, Martha. Augusta’s greatest pleasure was being surrounded by books and reading whenever she had the chance. She always kept a book in her purse or car so she would have something to read in a waiting room or during a delay on the road. She once wrote: “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could absorb books through your pores and get 3 or 4 a day into your system.” Imagine that! There will be a private graveside service for family and friends at Riverview Cemetery in Essex, CT. Donations may be made in Augusta’s memory to the Essex Library Association, 33 West Avenue, Essex, CT 06426. To share a memory of Augusta or send a condolence to her family please visit www.rwwfh.com Arrangements are in the care of the Robinson, Wright & Weymer Funeral Home in Centerbrook.