Mary Elizabeth (Miller) Benson, 75
May 6, 1940 -- June 9, 2015
Mary Lee Benson passed away peacefully on June 9, 2015, from breast cancer. She was surrounded by her family. She was born May 6, 1940, to Marcus E. and Beatrice (Ellis) Miller in Salina, Kan. She lived in Davenport, Iowa, from 1941 until 1980. She graduated from Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., in 1962.
She and Donald H. Benson were married Aug. 24, 1963, and resided in Davenport, Iowa, until 1980, when they moved to Cedarburg. After retirement in 2002, they lived on Washington Island, where they had a summer home for many years.
Mary Lee taught elementary education in Rock Island, Ill., and Davenport, Iowa. She was active in the Scott County, Iowa, and Ozaukee County League of Women Voters, where she was president for several years. She served as the art director of the Washington Island Art and Nature Center and was a member of the Washington Island Zoning and Planning Committee for more than 10 years, serving as secretary and chairman. She was a talented artist in Norwegian rosemaling and then in watercolor, acrylic and print-making. Her artistic style was continually evolving as she believed strongly in creating and finding new direction with each painting.
Her greatest joy was her family. She cherished family gatherings with her children and grandchildren, especially on her beloved Washington Island and Rock Island State Park.
This love of family led to a strong interest in genealogy. Her work tracing and documenting the family history will be invaluable for the family. She loved being surrounded by nature at her home, gardening and caring for the land. It was important to her that the environment be protected for future generations. She also loved to travel and was thankful for the many hiking trips she and Don took.
She was predeceased by her parents. Survivors include her husband, Donald; children, Prisca Fittshur (Scott) and Adam (Linnea) Benson; grandchildren, Annika and Nathan Benson and Siri Fittshur; brother, the Rev. David E.
Miller (Carol); brother-in-law, Bill Benson (Donna); step-brother, Dennis Ewoldt; step-sisters, Sue Ewoldt and Sally Ewoldt Overholzer; and numerous cousins, including her lifelong friend, cousin Debbie (Joe) Robb.
She was grateful for her friends’ support and for the doctors and nurses of Green Bay Oncology at Door County Memorial Hospital and Unity Hospice. A visitation will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church on Washington Island on Saturday, June 13 at 10 a.m.
with a service to follow at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at the Washington Island Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, a donation in Mary Lee’s memory may be made to the Washington Island Foundation or the Door County Land Trust.