FORT WORTH – Ethel Bennett Rehfeldt, a devoted wife, mother and grandmother, passed away peacefully on Nov. 8, 2013, in Fort Worth.
Memorial Service is 2 p.m. Tuesday at Thompson’s, Harveson and Cole Funeral Home. Burial is 10 a.m. at Oakwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ethel’s memory to a charity of choice.
Ethel was born in Fort Worth on March 31, 1917, to Walter and Ethel Bennett. Her parents were both members of pioneer families in Fort Worth.
Her paternal great-grandfather, Harrison Gill Hendricks, came to Fort Worth before the Civil War and played a critical role in bringing the railroad to Fort Worth in 1876.
Her maternal grandfather, Burwell Christmas Evans, was a successful merchandiser, operating what was, at one time, the largest retail operation of its kind west of the Mississippi River. In about 1876, Mr. Evans opened Evans Hall, a performing arts center, on the 2nd floor of his retail store at First and Houston.
Her paternal grandfather, George Ellis Bennett, founded the Acme Brick Company in 1891, which grew and expanded under her father, Walter R. Bennett.
Always an exceptional student, Ethel graduated high school at 16 years of age and received a B.S. from TCU at age 20 (1937). She went on to complete her master’s degree in geology at TCU two years later. At the time, she was the youngest woman ever awarded such a degree in the school’s history.
In addition to her academic achievements, Ethel was an accomplished horsewoman and world traveler. She was an Assembly debutante in 1937, a member of River Crest Country Club and the Junior League of Fort Worth.
A blind date in 1941 changed Ethel’s life forever. She met Frederick Cooper Rehfeldt of Jackson, Miss., while he was attending medical school at Tulane University. It was love at first sight and they were married on June 24, 1942, in Fort Worth. Ethel and Fred enjoyed 61 years together, raising a family and traveling the world. They spent their retirement years at their beloved Rancho Mesita in Millsap. While living in Millsap, Ethel found great pleasure in playing bridge and serving as a member of the Millsap Garden Club. She attended the First Christian Church in Mineral Wells.