ORONO – Mina Lelia (Sibley) Benzie, 88, passed away Jan. 8, 2009, at a Bangor hospital. She was born Jan. 8, 1921, in Old Town, the daughter of Herman Chester and Daisy (Weymouth) Sibley. Mina was raised in Stillwater Village and graduated from Old Town High School, Class of 1938. After graduation she worked for Bill Schrumpf at the University of Maine. During World War II she served in the Office of Strategic Services at the War Department, Washington, D.C. Mina graduated from the University of Maine in 1948 with a Bachelor of Art in psychology. While in college, she was vice president of Sigma Mu Sigma, an honorary psychology fraternity; captain of the Student Union Building fund drive for Stillwater; dean’s list student and member of Off-Campus Women. Upon graduation she accepted a position with the YWCA, Bar Harbor, as the teenage program director. Mina met her husband of 46-plus years, Walter S. Benzie, at the University of Maine. They were married in 1949 at Federated Church of Stillwater and lived in the Orono home that Walter built. She enjoyed a 20-year career as a first grade teacher at the Longfellow and Downeast schools in Bangor, received her Master of Education degree from the University of Maine, Orono, in 1971 and retired from teaching in 1983. She was treasurer of Alpha Delta Kappa International Honorary Sorority for Women Educators, Maine Gamma Chapter, Bangor, and member of Penobscot County Retired Teachers Association, Orono United Methodist Church and Federated Church of Stillwater, where she was a devoted Sunday school teacher and superintendent. For the last one and a half years, Mina was a resident of Dirigo Pines Inn, Orono, where she rekindled cherished lifelong relationships and made many new friends. To her family she was the sweet and loving, kind and caring, patient and supportive wife, mom, nana and nana-nana, who always knew just the right thing to say or do. She was an avid sports fan, super cook and a lifelong learner. Mina was predeceased by her parents; her husband, Walter Scott Benzie; brothers, Charles Byron Sibley and Francis Sibley; and sisters, Virginia Walz and L. Pauline Tompkins. She is survived by her twin sister, Georgia Smart of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; two daughters, Linda Benzie and Nancy B. Chaiyabhat, both of Hampden; one son, Scott S. Benzie of Lincolnville; son-in-law, Win Chaiyabhat of Hampden; her eight grandchildren and their spouses, Nancy L. Linscott and Michael of Snohomish, Wash., Kathryn M. Irvine and James of Bozeman, Mont., Matthew W. Georgitis and Deana of Winston-Salem, N.C., Whit Chaiyabhat and Amanda of Middleton, Md., Shaun Chaiyabhat of Memphis, Tenn., Taylor J. Benzie of Melbourne, Fla., Gabrielle S. Benzie and Isabella S. Benzie, both of Lincolnville; her four great-grandchildren, Emerson P. Linscott, Mackenzie A. Chaiyabhat, Carter J. Chaiyabhat and Hazel L. Irvine; a special niece, Jane T. Miller of Orono; many nieces and nephews. There will be an early summer memorial and interment at Riverside Cemetery, Orono. Those who wish to remember Mina in a special way may make gifts in her memory to Bangor Public Library Children’s Department, 145 Harlow St., Bangor, ME 04401. A service of Brookings-Smith, LaBeau Chapel, 72 Main St., Orono.
MINA LELIA (SIBLEY) BENZIE
Posted Jan. 14, 2009, at 7:41 p.m.