Mary Alice Shourds Benvenutti
Bay St. Louis, MS
Mary Alice Shourds Benvenutti died peacefully at her home in Bay St. Louis, MS on September 26 at the age of 85.
Mary Alice was born in Gulfport, MS on November 19, 1927. She was graduated from The University of Mississippi where she met her husband Joseph Henry Benvenutti. They returned to the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a young couple soon after her graduation from Ole Miss and his graduation from Ole Miss Law School. They resided in Bay St. Louis where they began their careers and started their family.
Mary Alice devoted her life to loving her family and friends and to educating her many students during her 60-year teaching career. She shared her love of books and the English language to all her family, friends, and students. She touched the lives of so many during her career which began at St Joseph Academy in Bay St. Louis. She taught at Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Elementary School for more than 20 years. She also taught at Pearl River Community College. She concluded her formal teaching career at Our Lady Academy in Bay St. Louis where she taught and loved her students for 30 years.
During her teaching career at OLA, she was named Star Teacher of the Year, selected Teacher of the Year by the Bay St. Louis Rotary Club, and honored with being the first recipient of the Catherine McAuley Service Award. She was also guest of honor at the annual "Hooray for OLA!" event.
Mary Alice was aways delighted when former students came to visit with her. They would tell her how well she had prepared them for their college studies and that they appreciated everything she had done for them.
Mary Alice was a member of Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church where she served as a Eucharistic minister and lector. She also served in the Alter Society. She was a former member of the American Legion Auxillary where she served as Sargeant-at-Arms. She was a long-time member of the Bay-Waveland Yacht Club.
She was also a charter member of Delta Rho Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma women's fraternity at Ole Miss and a member of Alpha Upsilon Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an international honor society of educators.
Mary Alice was a devout Catholic and believed deeply in the power of prayer and the goodness in everyone. She and her husband reared five children in a loving home. She taught her children at home and in the classroom by example.
Mary Alice was preceded in death by her parents, Dalton Bacon and Mary Rebecca Shourds; and her husband, Joseph Henry Benvenutti.
She is survived by her sister Dalton Shourds King and husband Donald King of Garden Grove, California.
Her children and their spouses are Joseph DeAlton (Betty) Benvenutti, Bay St. Louis; Susan Alice (Bill) Douglass, Flower Mound, TX; Mary Rebecca "Becky" (Brian) Milner, Bay St. Louis; Benjamin Shourds (Angela) Benvenutti, Bay St. Louis; and Maria Anne (Ben) Payne, Mobile, AL.
She is also survived by 11 grandchildren Nicholas Joseph Benvenutti; Katherine Milner Lewis (Kyle); Benjamin Brougham Benvenutti (Amanda); Jennifer Holland Douglass; Matthew Robert (Margaret) Milner; Lindsay Newhall Benvenutti; William Chase Douglass; Taylor Elaine Benvenutti; Elizabeth Joehren Milner; Lauren Chandler Douglass; and Jordan Claire Benvenutti. She was the proud great grandmother of Olivia James Lewis, Benjamin Wyatt Benvenutti, and Finley Joseph Lewis.
Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. to noon Monday, September 30 at Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic Church in Bay St. Louis with a Mass of celebration to follow. Interment will follow at St. Mary Cemetery in Bay St. Louis.
The family wishes to extend a special thanks to Dr. Sidney Chevis and office staff for their care throughout the years and to her loving caregiver Lucinda Lawson of Gulfport.
In lieu of flowers the family ask that donations be made to Our Lady Academy, 222 S Beach Blvd., Bay St. Louis, MS 39520.
Edmond Fahey Funeral Home in Bay St. Louis, MS is in charge of the arrangements.
Edmond Fahey Funeral Home Inc
110 Necaise Ave Bay Saint Louis, MS 39520
Published in The Sun Herald on Sept. 28, 2013