1951 ~ 2013
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On March 18, 2013, the stars dimmed for a brief moment in honor of a life well lived by Mary Benson. Now they shine clearer and brighter as she takes her place among them. She has always been my guiding star and an inspiration to many. She was a positive, gentle soul who taught us how to live life to the fullest and to do it all in love and respect for others.
Mary was born in October of 1951 to George and Jeanne Benson in Glendale, California. She grew up in San Fernando, Woodland Hills and Rialto, California. She made many friends in childhood that remain friends to this day. She loved her California roots and growing up next to the golf course in Rialto. She learned to play golf with her brother, mom and dad, and she even has a documented hole-in-one at Cascade Golf Course in Orem, Utah. Mary graduated from Eisenhower High School in Rialto. She was on the student council and loved being
on the drill team. She was a good student and was constantly learning and staying current on events appening just about everywhere. She attended San BernadinoValley College before heading to BYU where she graduated with a B.A. in communications. She made many wonderful friends at BYU who have remained close through the years. Once Mary finished school she went straight to work and always worked in fields she loved. She worked for Marie Callender's for many years and worked her way to manager before long. She also worked for Arvey Paper in Salt Lake, Press Publishing in Provo, and finally at Nu Skin in Provo at the time of her passing. Mary also took time out to go on a mission for the LDS Church. She served the people of Germany in the Frankfurt Mission serving in Heidelburg and Darmstadt.
Mary discovered running in 2003 at the age of 51 as a means to lose some extra pounds, and she didn't stop running until her illness made that decision for her. She ran several races from 5k to marathons, running a total of four marathons. Slow and steady didn't always win the race, but for her it wasn't about the winning as much as the doing it to be proud of oneself and to feel good. It was running that helped diagnose her with Myelodysplastic Syndrome or MDS (a preleukemia) in June of 2011. She ran her last marathon in April of that year and though she finished the race, it was not pretty. This forced her to try to find out why her body stopped responding to her will. By September of 2012, the MDS had developed into full-blown leukemia and she was admitted to LDS Hospital for the journey of a bone marrow transplant. She remained positive through it all and handled all the poking and prodding with grace and lots of laughter. She was a champion in the eyes of many. In February we discovered that the transplant had failed to cure her of her leukemia and that the doctors had done all they could do. She came home on hospice to many family and friends visiting and sharing their love and concern for her. She was grateful to have that love surrounding her at all times. She passed quickly when the time came and as always did it with quiet strength and a loving attitude.
Mary was preceded in death by her loving father George, mother Jeanne and brother Tom (Tommy to her), as well as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Mary is also preceded by loving pets Cassie (dog), Towanda (cat), and many, many more.
Mary is survived by her partner of 25 years Tina Anderson; best friends Pat Welch and Jude Burris; Tina's parents Georgia and Randy Elliott and Neil and Lorna Anderson; Tina's sister GaNeil Winder, brother in law Travis Winder and neice Katlyn; Tina's brother Robert Anderson, sister in law Suzan Anderson and nephews Chase, Zach and Dylon; her adopted niece Shauna (Derek) Hess and nephews David (Tesla) Welch, Dan (Nicole) Welch, Doug (Barbara) Welch, and Jeff Welch; and uncountable friends-once you were her friend, you remained.
We would like to thank the following for taking excellent care of Mary during her time of illness: Dr. Wallentine and Kathy Paprocki at Central Utah Clinic, and all the staff on East 8 at LDS Hospital. You have all become family and took such great care of Mary. We appreciated your love, concern and laughter through it all. We would also like to thank the anonymous donor who selflessly gave in Mary's time of need. Special thanks to Nu Skin for all their support in this trying time and to all Mary's fellow employees for giving so much in her behalf.
A celebration of Mary's life will be held Monday March 25, 2013, 6-9 p.m. at Noah's, 644 N. 2000 W., Lindon. Come celebrate a life well lived.
In lieu of flowers, Mary would prefer you make a donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at http://www.lls.org or The Humane Society of Utah at www.utahhumane.org
Published in Salt Lake Tribune from Mar. 21 to Mar. 22, 2013