Donna M. Benya, 80, mother of six, enjoyed playing cards, and visiting with others on her porch

By on May 18, 2016

Donna Marie Benya, 80, of Lititz, passed away May 7, 2016, at Lancaster General Hospital, surrounded by her family singing her favorite hymn, “Amazing Grace.”

Born in Binghamton, N.Y., her parents, Caresta and Richard (Dick) Bovee moved to New York City when she was 13 and so began her love of the NYC and the Hoboken, N.J., area, where she raised her six children.

Not to shun the rest of the country, she traveled to and lived where her children resided: San Diego, Calif.; Elgin, Ill.; Rutledge, Tenn.; and multiple cities in Florida; before “settling” in Lititz, coming full circle, since learning so many of her ancestors date back to the 1800s in the Lititz area.

Donna enjoyed playing cards (Shanghai and 3-13), reading mysteries, crossword and word search puzzles, and eating out. Every doctor appointment was excellent reason to eat out. She also loved sitting on the porch and visiting with neighbors. She took great joy in sharing her famous sausage stuffing during the holidays.

Donna wanted to be remembered for always doing her best for her family. She showed by example, even through extreme hardships, there was always room for laughter, love, friends, and family. She raised her children to be respectful and appreciative of others and never hesitated to welcome others into our home. Anyone having the chance to spend time with her walked away feeling like family. She never met a stranger, only a friend she hadn’t yet known.

Donna will be missed by her children: Joanna Benya, Sharon Benya, Donna (Ron) Murray, Richard (Sue) Benya, Joseph (Peggy) Benya, and Christine Benya (Steve) Ramsey; 14 beloved grandchildren; and 19 adorable great-grandchildren; her many nieces and nephews who were very special to her; and her many “adopted” children, grandchildren, and friends, all of whom she loved very much — you know who you are. She will also be missed by her grand-dogs: Lira and Tessa.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by two sisters: Caresta Hay Wright and Sylvia Hay German; a brother: Lamar D. Hay Jr.; her husband: Joseph J. Benya; and her precious cat: Shadow.

Being an organ donor and diagnosed with a rare form of cancer at 80 years old, Donna’s gifts to Science Care will benefit research and education.

A private celebration of her life will be planned by the family.

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One Comment

  1. Eileene Wright Stevens Shull and John Shull

    May 18, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    I Love My Aunt Donna. She was a strong influence in my life and my memories of her are nothing but happy ones. She and her daughters looked after my mom for 4 months when my mom came for a visit. Prior to John and I getting married he called her to ask if he could marry me and being the matriarch of our family she was thrilled! You could always count on her for laughter.

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