Ramona Batsford Bendin, 89, of Carolina Shores, died Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, at the SECU Hospice in Bolivia, surrounded by loving family and friends in the care of Lower Cape Fear Hospice.
Ramona was born in Winnipeg, Canada, on Feb. 17, 1924, and was the daughter of the late Ben and Stella Batsford. Her father was a cartoonist whose best-known strips were Edgar Bergen's "Charlie McCarthy," "Mortimer Snerd," and "Little Annie Rooney."
She was raised in Stewart Manor and Floral Park, Long Island, N.Y. Following in her father's footsteps, Ramona studied commercial art and received a scholarship at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y. When World War II began, she switched to night classes, studying fashion design and figure drawing. She worked days at Grumman Aircraft along with her father and sister. In 1946, Ramona married her husband, Dick, also from Floral Park. Soon she was a full-time mother and it seemed her career in art might slip away.
However, one day, her loving husband - always a great supporter of her talent - presented her with a shoe box full of oil paints and said, "Go paint," which she did. Ramona would go on to be elected to the prestigious Hudson Valley Art Association and the American Artists Professional League, the latter as a lifetime member. Her work was regularly accepted into juried shows at New York's Salmagundi Club and others. She earned Best In Show awards from Nassau County Art League and American Pen Women, in addition to receiving the Mrs. John Newington Award from the American Pastel Society of America. A vibrant, creative artist for more than 60 years, Ramona is still well known along the eastern seaboard for her realistic seascapes, landscapes, hunt scenes and portraits.
In North Carolina, Ramona has been a member of various art groups and was a volunteer with the Brunswick Literacy Council, Head Start and other organizations. She has donated artwork to Habitat For Humanity, Hope Harbor, Relay For Life, United Cerebral Palsy of Wilmington, Children In Schools and various hospice groups.
In addition to her parents and her sister, Fay, Ramona was preceded in death by her husband, Richard "Dick" Bendin, her sister, Fay Keaton; and her son, Greg Bendin. She is survived by two daughters, Dariel Bendin of Calabash and Mona Bendin of Calabash; a son, Scott Bendin (Diana) of Glen Ridge, N.J.; and a niece, Barbara Bryant (Bill) of Myrtle Beach, S.C. She is also survived by five grandchildren, Christopher, Eric, Andrew, Ben and Nicole; two great-granddaughters, Joanna and Liza; a grand niece, Veronica; a grand nephew, Aragorn; three great-grand nieces, Aisha, Ainsley and Charlotte; and one great-grand nephew, Gabriel.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, at Little River Methodist Church in Little River, S.C. The family requests in lieu of flowers, memorials be directed to Lower Cape Fear Hospice and Life Center, 955 Mercy Lane, Bolivia, NC 28422 or Little River Methodist Church, P.O. Box 160, Little River, SC 29566.
Private online condolences can be sent to www.brunswickfuneralservice.com.
Brunswick Funeral Service, Shallotte.