Obituary of Irene Benton |

Obituary of Irene Benton

Irene Benton
Submitted photo

Irene Kathleen (Vieira) Benton, 97, passed on February 2, 2020, at Eskaton, her home in Grass Valley, California.

Irene chose to move to Eskaton be close to her daughter Bonnie in 2012. She loved living there and became involved in all of the activities they offered. Bonnie had to make an appointment to see her mother because she was too busy doing needlework, being on the board, doing crafts for Hospice, helping with the neighboring school kids, reading, keeping up with her grandkids lives and watching football. She never forgot the names of anyone; not one quarterback or neighbor. She was a true friend to all.

Irene was born to Angelina (Seitz) and John Vieira on November 12, 1922, in Wailea, Hawaii.

She grew up as an island native, diving into the local swimming holes, pausing only to pick a mango and stick of sugarcane for lunch. She graduated from Hilo High School and then boarded a ship, by herself, for the mainland to study dental hygiene at the University of Southern California. While there she met a handsome Marine fighter pilot – “the love of her life” – on a blind date. Richard “Bennie” Benton married Irene on January 10, 1946. Life was not always easy being a Marine Corps wife. Bennie was often gone for long periods of time. It was not uncommon for her to tell her children to pack up their rooms on a Tuesday and the moving truck would arrive on Friday to take them away from friends and schools to a new home far away. They all welcomed the adventure.

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Irene became a wonderful homemaker and always had hot meals on the dinner table, cold martinis in the refrigerator and fresh floral arrangements on the tabletops. The squadron travelled together and they formed long lasting friendships. Bennie retired from the Marine Corps after 21 years and many moves across country, to Riverside, California.

Irene had studied Ikebana flower arranging while living in Hawaii. She became an accredited flower show judge for rose, iris and horticulture and had a rose and an iris named after her.

She was proceeded in death by her husband, Richard “Bennie” Wayne Benton, after 61 years of marriage; son Richard “Rick” Wayne Benton II in 1983; infant grandson Richard “Little Rick” Wayne Benton III; her parents; and her siblings: Rudolph Vieira of Oahu, and Evelyn Serrao and Helen Toledo, both of the Big Island.

Left behind are her are daughters: Bonnie Madden of Nevada City, California and Bridget Johnson of Kalona, Iowa; their husbands Chris Madden and Jim Johnson and daughter-in-law; Lyn Benton of Portland, Oregon; six grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.

Irene will be laid to rest next to her husband at the Riverside National Cemetery in a private ceremony. Hooper and Weaver Mortuary of Nevada City is taking care of arrangements.

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