Mary Lou Benda

Age 85, of Haslett, MI, formerly of Ellensburg, WA, passed away December 18, 2019.  She was born June 13, 1934, in Battle Creek, MI, to the late Emil John Benda and Bernice Whittaker.

Mary attended the University of Washington, graduating with a master’s degree; she went on to be a middle school art teacher in Ellensburg, WA. She loved weaving, and enjoyed music and the theatre.

Mary is survived by her daughter: Marci (William) Middaugh; granddaughter: Pamela Attleberger; great-grandchildren, Shaun Burgan, and Carson Middaugh; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was preceded in death by her parents; son: Bryan John Trumble; granddaughter: Mary Burgan; grandson: Mark Middaugh brothers: Emil Jr., Charles, George, Raymond, and Donald; and a sister: Donna Foster.

There will be a memorial service held at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, November 11, 2021, at the Estes-Leadley Holt/Delhi Chapel. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.


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4 Messages to “Mary Lou Benda

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Pamela Sue
December 23, 2019 at 1:54 pm

Blessed to have had her in my life. She will missed. Love her and will see her again some day.

Frank Wilson
December 28, 2020 at 3:41 pm

The memory has haunted me for years. At age 12, I was so blinded by my own adolescent pain and insecurity that I said nothing and did nothing. Now, forty years latter, I am saddened by my youthful cowardice wishing I would have had the courage to stand up and speak out.

Mrs. Trumble’s art class was for me a refuge from the social storms of my Sixth Grade year. She taught me to draw, paint, and sculpt and nurtured my growing love for the arts. Her voice was quiet and gentle. She complimented me on my work and encouraged my continued growth. In short, she was kind to me when so many of my peers were not.

Yet art class was often unwelcoming to Mrs. Trumble. Students with graphite pencils repeatedly tainted wooden desktops with the universal symbol of bigotry and terror: the swastika. I do not know if Mrs. Trumble was a Jew. But Jew or not, daily she was required to face the toxic imagery of terror at the hands of her students.

For years, I’ve wanted to tell Mrs. Trumble, “I’m sorry. I am sorry that I did nothing and said nothing. I am sorry that my classmates chose cruelty over creativity and meanness over imagination.” And “Thank you. Thank you for showing up each day to teach students like me. In my life, you made a positive difference.”

Over the years, I have tried to find Mrs. Trumble so that I could express to her directly my remorse and gratitude; however, my search had been in vain until now. Although she has passed on, I want her posterity to know she made a positive difference in my life.

Kathy Uline
May 18, 2021 at 4:08 pm

Dear Frank,

Mary is my Aunt. I too am a teacher (High School). You have an exquisite talent with words and have touched my heart deeply. I have no doubt Aunt Mary understood your teenage angst and was acutely aware of your struggles during your youth. You have confirmed her desire to make a difference. You are precious and truly touched my heart.

Brenda (Whittaker) Allen
May 20, 2021 at 8:39 pm

MARY Lou is my cousin. I too had wondered what happened to her over the years. Last contact was when she was living in student housing at Michigan State, 55 years sgo. She was indeed quiet and gentle. She had tuberculosis in her younger years and spent a lot of time hospitalized. I am amazed to learn that she outlived all of her brothers and sister. Her mother Berniece, my Dad’s sister and my aunt, was also a sweet, gentle person.


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