Teresa was born on May 13, 1961 to Edwin and Hilda Foster Bennett of White Sulphur Springs.
She graduated from Greenbrier East High School with a Scholarship in basketball to Concord College in Athens, WV. Teresa continued to play basketball and graduated with a BS degree in education, which, coupled with her innate kindness and selflessness, allowed her to help countless children for the next 40 years. She was known for her coaching young boys and girls in the Ronceverte Junior League Basketball program, preparing many to excel in high school sports and on to college. Always the biggest advocate for the underdog, Teresa was drawn to the at-risk and special needs among us, aiding those who needed it the most with the greatest fervor.
She was preceded in death by her father, Edwin Bennett and ex-husband (but still constant companion), Milton Dean Serreno.
She is survived by her mother, Hilda Bennett; children Ashley Vallandingham, Amanda Serreno, Austin Serreno, and Adam Smith; grandchildren Tyler Meadows, Rei Vejnoska, and Camden Smith; brothers Randy Bennett and Tim Bennett; as well as many beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins.
As a mother and friend, Teresa was always the first to congratulate or to console. Her enormous heart preceded her everywhere she went, and allowed her to make effortless friends, whether it was a smoke with strangers outside an event… or talking her way out of eating somebody’s food off their plate whom she thought had abandoned it.
Always the individual, Teresa was a gallery of nail art, a curator of unique clothing, and at the bleeding edge of extremely curly hairstyles. When the SVELTE license plate pulled up to your home, you were in for a great conversation, a strong hug, and a movie night where she might ask questions about fundamental aspects of the movie that had been clearly established in the first few minutes.
While Teresa was a wonderful friend and supporter, she truly excelled as a grandmother. She had a gift for kindling the imagination and burning brightly through craft projects – and taking off just before those projects had to be cleaned up. Her big heart overflowed for her grandchildren, and NanNan leaves a gap that will be impossible to fill.
Teresa was employed by the U. S. Census Bureau as a field supervisor, WVSOM as a curriculum planner and recently at Davis Stuart School for trouble teenagers.
Teresa did not want a formal funeral. A celebration of her life will be held around the time of her birthday in May.
In lieu of flowers, please consider continuing Teresa’s work by donate to The Miracle Project. The Miracle Project provides fully inclusive theater, film, social skills, and expressive arts programs for individuals with autism and all abilities. http://themiracleproject.org/donate/