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Marin Independent Journal
Wednesday, February 6, 2002

Mildred Aileen Benaski

With family at her bedside, Mildred Aileen Benaski passed away peacefully after a sudden illness and hospitalization on Saturday, February 2, 2002 in Novato, California. Born in Monterey Park on September 19, 1913, she was 88 years young and the devoted wife of Leonard E. Benaski for 59 years. Mildred is survived by daughters Bette Holloway and her husband Milton of Sonoma, Marilyn Stoops and her husband Randall of Granite Bay, her grandchildren: Christopher and Jason Stoops of Granite Bay, Michael Holloway of Novato, Pam Baird and her husband, Charles and their three sons, Alex, Tom and Andrew of Culver City. She is also survived by four cousins, Mary Caldwell of Milford, Ohio, John McCollum also of Milford, Caroline Westerkamm and her husband Louis of Loveland, Ohio, and Wayne Finley in Ventura, California.

A native Californian, Mildred met and married Leonard on June 18, 1942 in San Francisco. They moved to Hamilton AFB following the war after Leonard was discharged from the military. They remained there until 1950 when the family moved to Novato, where they have resided together on Peach Street for 52 years.

During WWII, Mildred worked as a payroll supervisor at Hamilton AFB. In the mid 1950's, she began working for the American Red Cross as a case worker assisting military personnel with transfers and various family emergencies. She retired in 1974 from her position as Acting Field Director when the base was closed. After retirement, Mildred led an active life dividing her leisure time between volunteer work and her many and varied hobbies and interests. She was a member of the Novato Historical Guild, where she served as a docent. She was a great lover of animals and wildlife. Mildred especially enjoyed gardening, artwork, cooking, crafting, and decorating the family home. For many years she was a 4-H leader and taught many young boys and girls the skills of gardening, sewing and cooking. As an avid gardener, she became an active member and officer in the Novato Garden Club for several years. Mildred also exhibited her gardening skills at both the Marin County and Sonoma-Marin County Fairs, where she won numerous awards for both her floral displays and other horticultural exhibits. She received her greatest joy from sharing the flowers, fruits and vegetables she and Leonard raised with their family and many friends.

Friends may pay their last respects from Thursday, February 7 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. or on Friday, February 8 from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at Keaton's Redwood Chapel at 1802 Novato Blvd.

Mildred will be missed greatly, but remembered with greatest love by those she knew and touched. Friends and family are invited to a Memorial Service and reception to celebrate her life at the Saint Francis Episcopal Church, Novato to be held on Saturday, March 2nd, at 11:00 a.m.

The family prefers memorial contributions in Mildred's memory to be made to Wildcare, P.O. Box 150930, San Rafael, CA 94915-0930, Critical Care Unit, Novato Community Hospital, 180 Rowland Way, Novato, CA 94945, or their favorite charity.

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