Benjamina Hillery, Age 97
Benjamina Hillery was a UFT member for over 35 years, most recently as a teacher at PS 304 in Brooklyn. Over the years, she also worked as a science coordinator and administrator and taught English language learners. Benjamina was one of the earliest African American women to graduate from Hunter College in the 1940s. She studied Latin and was fluent in French and Spanish and earned several master's degrees in education throughout her career. She also maintained an interest in politics, writing letters on behalf of civil rights and women’s liberation causes. Benjamina was a humanitarian and received awards from Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, Wildlife Preservation groups and Doctors Without Borders. She is survived by her daughter Grace Hillery-Hoyte — a UFT member herself for over 25 years — and her sons Paul and Thomas Hillery, her son-in-law John, daughter-in-law Birgit, and her beloved grandchildren Jessica, Eric, Odin, Serena, Jabari and Dakembay.