The lights of heaven surely brightened with anticipation as Elizabeth Maxine McArthur (“Beth”) Benggio, who died peacefully at her home on March 19, 2020, arrived to begin her everlasting life. Born in Meridian, MS on March 15, 1933, the eldest daughter of Ruth A. Daniels and Dee Voe McArthur initiated a lifetime of personal and professional caring for others at an early age. She earned her nursing (RN) degree in Mississippi, completing her clinicals at Charity Hospital, New Orleans, LA, and at Florida State Hospital, Chattahoochee, FL. While in New Orleans, she met her future husband, Morrie Benggio (then serving in the US Air Force) when they were paired with others on a blind double date; two weeks later, he proposed to her. After their 1954 wedding in Anchorage, AK, they established their permanent home in Columbia.
Mrs. Benggio began her professional career at the Columbia Area Mental Health Center as a psychiatric nurse. A born leader, who was published professionally and mentor to many, she ultimately retired as Director of Nursing at G. Werber Bryan Psychiatric Hospital – at the time, a notable accomplishment for a woman.
She was an early and devoted member of Spring Valley Presbyterian Church where she remained very active for the rest of her life, serving as deacon, elder and with a host of groups and committees. Demonstrating her passion for outreach, she was instrumental in bringing new families into the church which, in 2017, honored her with its Honorary Life Membership Award. She also served on the board of Directors of Pastoral (Live Oak) Counseling Center.
Always busy, always fun, Beth Benggio had a strong spirit and a joie de vivre that “broke the mold.” She was a loving wife, attentive mother to four active children, member of several bridge clubs and bowling leagues - and diehard fan of professional tennis and the Atlanta Braves! She was an independent, compassionate thinker, fashion icon, inspired cook, energetic traveler and hostess, and lover of Broadway shows. More importantly, she was a friend-for-life to so many who will cherish her memory and grand times together.
In addition to her husband and parents, she was predeceased by a daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Benggio Harris (2012) and by siblings, Ernest McArthur and Charlotte Ruth M. Bertics. She is survived by her three loving sons: Bradford Lee Benggio of Pembroke Pines, FL; Keith Todd Benggio (Gretchen) of Cornish, ME; and Jack DeVoe Benggio of the home. Also surviving are 10 grandchildren: Morgan Benggio; Maurie B. Poppeliers; Carson Benggio; Sadie Harris; Zane Harris; Jacob Benggio; Levi Benggio; Forrest Gulledge; Quinten Gulledge; Addison Wessinger, and five great-grandchildren.
A private, graveside service for immediate family will be conducted by Shives Funeral Home on Sunday, March 22, with interment beside her husband in Elmwood Cemetery. A celebration of life with family and friends will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, her family requests that donations be made to Spring Valley Presbyterian Church, 125 Sparkleberry Lane, Columbia SC 29229, in her memory. The family also sends its deep appreciation to the many health care professionals who helped their mother navigate her final journey with such support and tenderness.