Bettie "Coco" Garrettson Bettie "Coco" Garrettson

Bettie “Coco” Benner Garrettson, 97, passed away quietly on September 12 in the Allentown home she lived in for 47 years. She was the daughter of Nettie Ludwig and Nolan P. Benner, the longtime executive director of the Trexler Estate. Coco shared her parents fun loving, unpretentious approach to life and dedication to family, friends and the Lehigh Valley community. A 1939 graduate of Edgewood Park Junior College in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., Coco then furthered her studies at National Park Seminary in Forest Glen, Maryland until 1942 when the property was acquired by Walter Reed Army Hospital for use as a recovery center for traumatized World War II veterans. A beautiful woman, both physically and in spirit, Coco was a tender, generous soul who doted on her family and had a soft spot for animals. She was a fine equestrian in her youth and had many dogs in her life including her miniature poodle Igby, who was curled up next to her until the last moments of her life. Coco was a member of the Allentown Art Museum, the Lehigh County Historical Society, the Retired Officers Association and served on the board of the Allentown Women’s Club. She volunteered at Meals on Wheels for 18 years. Adored by all who knew her, Coco was something rare in this modern world—always a lady and ever present— she brought a sense of calm to all situations. She greatly enjoyed the simple act of just sitting for a long spell, conversing with friends and family, unencumbered by life’s demands. She managed to keep her life unhurried and focused on the simplest of pleasures for decades. Coco had a true talent for self preservation, internally and externally. Early to bed, early to rise, strict mealtimes and an impressive beauty regimen sustained her for almost a century.

Coco is survived by her two children Dr. Charles L. Garrettson, III of Allentown and Linda J. Garrettson of Norfolk, Conn.; her granddaughters Kristin N. Pizzica, Lindsey Pizzica Rotolo and Hadley H. Garrettson; and her great-granddaughters Sadie Rose Rotolo and Cora Bettie Smith. Coco is predeceased by her parents; her husband of 52 years, Capt. Charles L. Garrettson, Jr.; a younger brother, Nolan P. Benner, Jr. and her grandson, Thomas Ashton Garrettson.

A private, graveside service will be held at Greenwood Cemetery in Allentown.

Contributions in Bettie Garrettson’s memory can be made to the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets Initiative or the National Park Seminary’s “Save Our Seminary” effort.

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