Iris J. Benesch 1956-2018

Iris J. Benesch, 1956-2018. Photo: LWF/Helen Putsman Penet
Iris J. Benesch, 1956-2018. Photo: LWF/Helen Putsman Penet

Remembering a long serving colleague

(LWI) - The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is mourning the passing of a long-serving and much-loved colleague.

Ms. Iris J. Benesch passed away on 17 April at the age of 62 after a long battle with cancer. She died surrounded by her family in Geneva.

Ms. Benesch was the longest-serving current member of the staff of the Communion Office, working for over 30 years, most recently in the Department for Theology and Public Witness as editor and publications coordinator. She oversaw the publication of numerous theological studies and documents, took part in preparing theology conferences, and collated stories for communications. She was also responsible for documentation at various LWF councils and assemblies, and in that role became known to generations of stewards in these meetings.

“We are grateful for the life of Iris and her dedicated service to the LWF. The pain at her passing is deep,” Rev. Dr Kaisamari Hintikka, director of the Department for Theology and Public Witness, said. “Those of us who worked with Iris will never forget her great professionalism, warmth and enthusiasm. She was a beloved colleague and we shall miss her terribly.”

Those of us who worked with Iris will never forget her great professionalism, warmth and enthusiasm. She was a beloved colleague and we shall miss her terribly.
Kaisamari Hintikka, Director of the Department for Theology and Public Witness

General Secretary Rev. Dr Martin Junge commended Ms. Benesch’s tenure of service to the LWF. “We are grateful for her years of dedication. Everyone in the organization mourns her passing. We now entrust her into God’s compassionate embrace, as we continue embracing memories of laughter, struggles and shared commitment.”

Ms. Benesch will be remembered for her warm sense of humor, modesty, generosity, as well as her professionalism and sharp mind. She worked to the highest standards and was determined to do a good job, even as her illness left her fatigued and in pain.

Ms. Benesch graduated from City of London’s Polytechnic’s School of Business Studies with a diploma in Business Studies. She started working for the LWF in 1986, first as Secretary for the Women’s Desk, later in the position of Editorial Assistant, in the then-department for Theology and Studies.

Following re-organization of the department, Ms. Benesch was Publications and Editorial Coordinator in the Department for Theology and Public Witness, responsible for the development of the theological publications of the LWF. She also acted as the focal point for the department’s overall communication needs.

In her leisure time, she traveled, read various kind of literature, went to the theatre and to art exhibitions, particularly those of abstract photography. Born in Bonn, Germany, Ms. Benesch lived most of her adult life in Austria and Switzerland. In her heart, however, she was strongly connected to her British roots and culture.

The LWF extends its condolences to the family of Iris Benesch: husband Udo, son Justin, her two stepsons, sister and mother. The LWF held a memorial prayer on 17 April in the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre.

A book of condolences will be sent to her family. Contributions are welcome at info@lutheranworld.org.