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Nora Etta Putnam Benfield

December 13, 1922 — July 26, 2023

Nora Etta Putnam Benfield

Nora Etta Putnam Benfield, 100 years, 7 months old went to be with the Lord on July 26, 2023.   She was born on December 13, 1922, to R. Hardin and Hester Pressley Putnam in Haywood County, NC.  Her siblings were Mae Pilkington, Ella Putnam, Ralph Putnam, Edith Setzer, Mary Wright, Ginny Putnam, and James Putnam.  Nora grew up during the Great Depression in Canton with little money or material possessions.  Early on, she learned that if she wanted anything, she would have to work to get it.  However, Nora remembered that her family always had food to eat.  She remembers the love and hard work of her parents.  Her father, Hardin, worked as a concrete contractor and did many concrete jobs in Canton including work at the Colonial Theatre, Canton High School (now Canton Middle School), and many businesses in Canton.  Hester worked quietly at home taking care of the children, cooking, canning, gardening, and sewing. 


Nora had many fond memories of her brief childhood; especially, going hunting and fishing with her dad.  She described herself as an outdoor person who loved to climb trees, swim in the Pigeon River, walk to town, walk to her grandparent’s home on Dutch Cove Road, and design playhouses in the woods with leaves, nuts, and her dog.  Nora loved animals and had a special insight into their care.


            As a young teenager, she met a handsome young man, Jessie Paris Benfield, who had moved to Canton from Northeast Georgia.   Their first date was to attend the Labor Day events in Canton and see “Romeo and Juliette” at the movies.   They were married 5 months later in a Baptist Pastor’s home.  Paris and Nora were married 63 years before his passing in 2001. The couple lived in the Canton area most of their married life, except for winter visits to Central Florida.


During WWII, Paris served in the US Navy while Nora served at home taking care of the family.  She vividly recalled her train trip to San Diego, CA, to visit Paris when he was stationed there for “landing craft training”.  During April 1945, Paris delivered Marines  on those landing crafts for the Okinawa Island Invasion.  Shortages of rubber, gasoline, shoes, and certain foods meant Nora had to use government “stamps” to purchase items during the War years.


            With an amazing memory and strength of character, Nora told many stories of living in Wells Town, having Labor Day Adventures, walking to Garden Creek School, caring for extended family, and experiencing times of joy, as well as extreme disappointments. 


            Nora was preceded in death by sons: Thomas Garland Benfield and Jessie Paris Benfield, Jr.  Nora leaves behind a daughter, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. 


Recently, Nora learned that she was a descendant of Israel Boone, older brother of the pioneer Daniel Boone.  At age 100, Nora became a member of DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution).  For more than 8 years, Nora has lived with her daughter, Judy Smith (Joseph) in Georgia. 


Nora was a long-time member of Dutch Cove Baptist Church.   Memorial gifts may be made to Dutch Cove Baptist Church, for the “Capital Projects” Fund, 4161 Dutch Cove Road, Canton, NC 28716.


A celebration of life will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 29, 2023, in the Canton Chapel of Wells Funeral Home with Reverend Roy Houston officiating.  Following there will be a graveside service at Crawford/Ray Memorial Gardens.  The family will receive friends from 1:00 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. at the funeral home prior to the service.


The care of Mrs. Nora Benfield has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Homes and an online memorial register is available at “Obituaries” at

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Past Services


Saturday, July 29, 2023

1:00 - 2:45 pm (Eastern time)

Wells Funeral Home - Canton

3715 Asheville Highway, Canton, NC 28716

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Celebration of Life

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Eastern time)

Canton Chapel of Wells Funeral Home

3715 Asheville Hwy, Canton, NC 28716

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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