Mary Isabelle Benedetto, 83, former flight stewardess whose home was a safe haven for others

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Mary Isabelle Benedetto
Mary Isabelle Benedetto

Mary Isabelle Benedetto, of Wilmington, died peacefully Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, surrounded by her loving family. She was 83.

Mary was born in Battle Creek, Michigan on Aug. 13, 1932, the last of seven children of the late James and Ruby Bingham Knapp.

Quite young, Mary attended flight stewardess training school, realized her girlhood dream and became a stewardess with American Airlines. She was based at Midway Airport in Chicago and subsequently traveled all over the United States on flights to various cities.

She met her husband Carl in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he had been transferred by his employer from Cleveland. He later accepted a management assignment with his company to Torino, Italy where Mary and her family spent three very happy years. They returned to the United States to live in Cleveland where they raised their three children in a home filled with love. They eventually moved to Wilmington in 1993, which truly became their retirement home by the sea.

Mary enjoyed music and reading. She had a passion for poetry and writing verse. She enjoyed walking, especially at the beach, as well as Pilates and meditation. She had a deep respect for “Mother Earth” and animals and was dedicated to living and promoting a healthy vegetarian world. She loved children and they loved her. She was kind, nurturing, genuine and warm. Over the years, her home provided a safe haven to many in their time of need.

Mary was raised in the Anglican Church by her Irish mother. She was an active member of St. Andrews on the Sound Episcopal Church.
Most of all, Mary found complete joy in being a wife, mother and grandmother. She had endless energy and embraced each day with a thankful and generous heart.

She is survived by her beloved husband of 60 years, Carl, who was her “Gioia” (joy); daughter, Alicia Benedetto, her husband Jeffrey Musick and daughter, Francesca Benedetto, of Columbia, South Carolina; son, Carlo and his wife Andrella, of Santa Ana, California; daughter, Maria Benedetto O’Shea, her husband Timothy and children, Griffin Timothy and Allison Maria, of Redwood City, California; brother, Roger Knapp and wife Shirley, of Kalamazoo, Michigan; sister, Patricia Hosimer, of Lansing, Michigan; several nieces and nephews; as well as her cherished extended family.

The family would like to offer special thanks to Dr. Leo Warshauer, M.D. who cared for Mary for many years and to the compassionate staff at The Davis Community Rehabilitation and Wellness Pavilion, who provided exemplary care during the last three weeks of her life.

A memorial service will be held at a date to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in her honor may be directed to St. Andrews on the Sound Church, 101 Airlie Road, Wilmington, NC 28403; New Hanover Humane Society Inc., 2405 North 23rd St., Wilmington, NC 28401; or The Davis Community Rehabilitation and Wellness Pavilion, 1011 Porters Neck Road, Wilmington, NC 28411.

Please leave online condolences for the family at Andrews Mortuary.

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