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Patricia Joyce Benton

June 25, 1941 — June 22, 2022

Mount Pleasant, SC

Patricia Joyce Benton

Patricia J. Benton (Pat), 80, of Mt. Pleasant, SC, passed away in the early hours of June 22, 2022. She was born on June 25, 1941, to Gil and Olga Cordeira in New Bedford, MA.

 

Pat, who married William O. Benton (Billy) of Mt. Pleasant, SC in July 1961, is survived by her three daughters: Tara (Jon) Powell and Robin France, both of Mt. Pleasant, SC, and Stephanie (Bryan) Tidwell of Dickson, TN; seven grandchildren; two great-grandchildren, and; two sisters Veronica Vieira of New Bedford, MA, and Margaret Gushue of Sarasota, FL. Patricia is predeceased by her parents and her husband.

 

Pat’s life is best understood through the perspective of her beloved daughters. Her eldest daughter, Tara, recounts the story of Pat’s first and only love: Pat and Billy met on a blind date when Billy, a proud member of the Coast Guard, was on shore leave. Pat’s cousin, who was also dating a sailor, knew of Billy and, after much persuasion, convinced a reluctant Pat to come along. As soon as Pat saw Billy, she knew that she would marry him one day. And that love-at-first site never faded over the many years of their marriage. Tara feels such a closeness to this story because she too has experienced love at first sight with her sweet husband of a good many years.

 

Robin, the second-born daughter, speaks to Pat’s selfless nature as she recalls one of her earliest, most formative memories. For dinner one night, Pat had divided up a medium-sized can of Beef-A-Roni (which was a rare treat for them back in the day). Each sister had a bowlful with a slice of buttered bread on the side. Pat herself had a very small cupful with three slices of bread. Robin said to her “Mom, I think you really love bread and butter!” Pat smiled and said, “Yes, I do!” Years later, Robin realized her mother’s selflessness and the impact of this small act helped to shape her life by always striving to serve others first.

 

Stephanie, the youngest, shares her special memory of Pat. “My mother was my wise champion,” she recalls. In first grade Stephanie had been transferred to a new school which enforced mandatory bussing. With the ride being a little over an hour in each direction, Stephanie was forced to endure relentless bullying and would come home in tears each day. After two weeks, Pat looked at her daughter and said, “if anyone has said they’ll hurt me if you tell, they’re lying to you.” Stephanie was in shock, as she had refused to speak about it to her mother. “She hugged me until I stopped crying,” Stephanie says, “and then she picked up the phone and had a very loud conversation with the principal. Her love for us was fierce and family meant everything to her, as it does to me.”

 

Pat had many interests. Her daughter’s recall her exercising each morning with Jack LaLane in the mid-60’s. She also enjoyed cake decorating, letter writing, reading, and painting. Her lifelong passions included playing with her children, crosswords puzzles, dates with her beloved husband, bowling, and card and board games with her family and friends. She especially loved it when her Billy would holler out “Doll baby! Let’s play some cribbage!”

 

Pat was a military spouse and worked off and on throughout the years to help support the family. At each duty station, she established long lasting friendships. Everybody loved Pat. She was good, kind, and generous. She was more than happy to be the central figure in the lives of her children, who took great pleasure in hearing the tales of her life and who delighted in the supreme joy of the sweet love and beautiful childhood that she gave them.

 

While there will be no public service, let us honor the memory of this wonderful woman through our actions and live as she did: believe in love, serve others first, and be a fierce protector of your family.

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