Rev. Daisy Kirkpatrick passed away peacefully at Hospicare of Ithaca on August 17, 2023, after a protracted illness. She was born Marguerite on Dec. 25, 1944, in Holyoke, MA, to her mother, soprano Hope Miller Kirkpatrick (1907–1991), the daughter of New York City financier Gardiner Hope Miller (1872–1954) and Emma Achelis (1886–1965). Her father, pianist John Kirkpatrick Jr. (1905–1992), son of John Kirkpatrick Sr., of the New York City jewelry firm Thomas Kirkpatrick & Sons, named his daughter in honor of his mother Marguerite “Daisy” Haviland (1876–1959).
Shortly after Daisy’s birth, Cornell University appointed her father Professor of Music. As a result, the family relocated to Ithaca, NY, where she grew up and spent most of her life. In 1966, she married Thomas Fawcett Benson (1928–1977), of Sandy Springs, MD, and West Dryden, with whom she had two sons: John “Jake” William (b. 1969) and Ross Henry (b. 1971). She subsequently married Garth Addington Jackson (1929–1999) of Trumansburg and Dryden in 1978 until 1985. She is survived by her two children, their partners Joey Richardson and Robin Pasiak, grandsons Moose (b. 2003) and Dasch (b. 2009), as well as sister Mary Paul (b. 1948) of Ithaca. Her brother David Hope (1947–2023) of Rochester, recently predeceased her on June 13th, 2023.
Daisy held an abiding love of animals and especially horses throughout her life. In 6th grade, guided by Cornell University Poultry Department Professor Ari van Tienhoven, she won first prize in a local science fair for her demonstration of chicken embryo development. After graduating from St Mary’s School, Peekskill, in 1961, she briefly studied zoology but then found employment as a technical assistant in various scientific and analytical laboratories, including the Poultry Department. She would later obtain a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics in 1987 from Cornell. Daisy thereafter worked for Cornell University Grounds Department, M & E Engineering in Santa Fe, NM, and then opened her own business, Applied Data Designs. Finally in her later years, she worked for Ross’ business, Hygear Suspension in Lansing.
An accomplished artist, Daisy not only studied painting in oil, acrylic, and water colors, but also in encaustic. Ultimately, she spent many years under the tutelage of Russian icon painter Vladislav Andrejev at the Prosopon School of Iconology in Whitney Point. A highly-skilled craftswoman, she was especially talented in the fiber arts and once was an avid member of the Black Sheep Handspinners and Seven Valley Weavers Guilds.
Above all, Daisy held a very deep interest in spirituality, which partly stemmed from her family’s membership in both the Episcopal Church and the New York Theosophical Society, as well as her father’s interest in Transcendentalism. As an adult, she practiced meditation and lived in several spiritual communities, before founding Hilarion, in Caroline (1974–1985). She raised her children there with her second husband, other community members, and her extended family, while restoring the old house and designing a barn to house horses, sheep, and a cow. During that time, Garth also served as supervisor for the Town of Caroline, and Daisy as secretary.
An active early member of the Foundation of Light in Ellis Hollow, as well as the Arcane School for many years, Daisy also studied Kripalu Yoga. In later years, she felt inspired to return to the Episcopal Church and obtained a Masters of Divinity degree from Bexley Hall seminary in 2004. She subsequently served in the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York in various capacities, including as pastor in Lowville and Greene, then ultimately as a Deacon at Grace Church in Elmira. Daisy trained in spiritual direction at the Haden Institute and had a particular gift for working with ordained ministers. After she moved to Woodsedge in Lansing in 2014, she led services there and also attended Lansing United Method Church.
A memorial service will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 26, 2023, at Lansing United Methodist Church, 32 Brickyard Road, Lansing, NY 14882. A reception will immediately follow in the church fellowship hall.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Hospicare, Ithaca.