David Whitney and Jamie Bennee, who President Holland described as leading "spirited and kind lives," stand in front of airplane. Courtsey of Aviation Department

In a tragic plane crash that also claimed the life of a student, Aviation Science instructor Jamie Cope Bennee died Nov. 17. Family, friends, co-workers, students and community members gathered to pay tribute to her Tuesday, Nov. 30.

Those in attendance came to know Bennee as a driven, kind and optimistic person who touched those around her. Her life story is replete with stories of her positive attitude and service-oriented mindset.

Danalea Cope, Bennee’s mother, said that thinking of others was a normal part of Bennee’s life.

“Jamie loved everyone,” Cope said. “She was a very loving, giving soul. She recognized what people needed, and gave them that. She didn’t say, ‘What do you need? Call me.’ Instead, she just knew what people needed and she was there.”

To illustrate, Cope shared that Bennee’s neighbors had 14 children. Sometimes Bennee would take some time out of her schedule to take most of the kids off their mother’s hands, just to give her a break.

Kelly Patrick, an aunt and close friend, told that in the face of some of life’s difficulties, Bennee kept a good attitude. During an LDS mission to the Philippines, she was assigned to an area that has since been deemed too dangerous for female missionaries. She also had to have an ovarian cyst removed in a primitive hospital.

“But she always faced life’s trials with a positive attitude,” Patrick said. “She never complained about how hard it was.”

After returning home from the Philippines, Bennee worked to complete her education at BYU–Idaho. It was while attending the university that Bennee met her husband, Joshua Bennee. They were married May 7, 2005. Two children followed, Boston in ‘06 and Alexandria in ‘09.

Bennee finished her Accounting degree, then pursued and received a second degree at the University of Utah in Aviation. She soon began teaching as part of UVU’s Aviation Science department.

While there, she made close connections with co-workers and students. One co-worker said that Bennee had a knack for helping students who struggled. He said there was one student who was considered difficult by most teachers. But Bennee wouldn’t give up on him and he ended up finishing school and receiving his pilot’s license.

“Jamie never gave up. She seriously impacted his life. She helped other people live their dreams,” her co-worker said.

Perhaps remembering Bennee is summed up best by the bishop of her church. “It was good to see you smile as you remembered Jamie,” he said to Bennee’s mother after she spoke. “That’s how she would have us remember her.”