Cover photo for Dorothy O. Benenati's Obituary
Dorothy O. Benenati Profile Photo
1928 Dorothy 2020

Dorothy O. Benenati

August 2, 1928 — August 20, 2020

Dorothy Oates Benenati, 92, a native of Norwich, passed away peacefully at home on Thursday, August 20, 2020.

Dorothy, also known as Dot and Dottie, lived a beautiful life. She was kind hearted, generous of soul, creative, giving, and loving. Her essence will always be remembered in her love of music, dark chocolate, dancing, and laughter. Dottie loved her family and was devoted to her friends. She spent a great deal of time touching people’s lives through cards, letters, and gifts. Her grandchildren provided enormous pride and joy.

Dorothy’s artistic talents included scrap booking, shadow boxes, theorem paintings on velvet, Santa models, and a variety of crafts she donated to Hospice fundraisers. Her family and friends received most of her crafts for gifts at various holidays and personal celebrations. For years, Dorothy worked part-time at Harrington’s Greenhouses making silk and dried floral arrangements. Dottie loved dancing to Big Band and Boogie Woogie music. Dorothy frequently enjoyed a week in summer at the Fletcher Farm Craft School in Vermont. She and Ben enjoyed theater and concerts around central New York and traveled to see friends around the world.

Dorothy was born on August 2, 1928, in Norwich to Lillian (Carmer) and Francis J. Oates. She often spoke about the wonderful time she had in high school and college. She graduated from Norwich Senior High School in 1946 and from Russell Sage College in 1950, with a degree in Spanish and a minor in French. Upon graduation Dorothy spent 9 months at the Latin American Institute in New York City studying Spanish, and then worked for Crucible Steel Company as a secretary in the Export Department. Dorothy married Frank J. “Ben” Benenati on April 26, 1952 in St. Bartholomew’s Church. They settled in Norwich and were married for more than 68 years.

Dorothy loved her hometown of Norwich and was proud of her family history. In 1923, her father established the Chenango Ice Cream Company and also operated the “Oates and Fuller” Store, one of the outlets for the Velvet Ice Cream Brand. In 1957, her father sold the company to the Borden Dairy Company. Dorothy often shared fond memories of working at the ice cream store and spending time with her older sister Eleanore. Dottie also spent countless hours at her families cottage at Chenango Lake with her sisters, and as an adult with her sister, Nancy.

Dorothy was active in her community, volunteering at the Norwich Food Pantry, Rogers Environmental Education Center, the Chenango County Council of the Arts, Colorscape Chenango, and transporting patients to their Cancer treatments. She was active in Eta Epsilon community sorority, and the Ave Maria Guild of St. Bartholomew’s Church. She was a charter member of the Town and Country Garden Club and the Norwich Fine Arts Guild. She even served as a Brownie Girl Scout leader. In 2008, Dorothy was awarded Distinguished Citizen Award by the Baden Powell Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

In addition to her husband, Dorothy is survived by five children, Steve (Mary Jane) Benenati and their children, Lauren (Paul Blatz), Ryan, and Katie (Cody Fait), John Benenati, Frank (Nicole) Benenati and their children, Cascade and Orion, Dave (Michelle) and their children, Austin and Natalie, and Maribeth (Dan) and Summer Gough. She was delighted to be a great-grandmother to Everett Blatz. Dorothy was predeceased by her sisters, Eleanore (Rufus “Brud”) Perkins and Nancy (Clarence D., Jr.) Rappleyea.

A private Mass of Christian Burial for Dorothy will be celebrated at the Church of St. Bartholomew, where Rev. Ralph A. Bove, pastor, will officiate. Friends are invited to call at Wilson Funeral home on Thursday, August 27, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Callers are asked to enter through the side doors of the funeral home. To ensure the safety of all in attendance, please observe appropriate social distancing and sanitary practices, including facial coverings. Dorothy specifically requested “no black” be worn at her services. A private burial will take place at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Norwich. A public celebration of her life will be planned for the summer of 2021.

Contributions in Dorothy’s memory may be made to the Chenango County SPCA, 6160 County Road 32, Norwich, NY 13815, Hospice and Palliative Care of Chenango County, 33-35 Court St., Norwich, NY 13815, or to Our Daily Bread Food Closet, 37 West Main St., Norwich, NY 13815 where she volunteered for many years.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dorothy O. Benenati, please visit our flower store.

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

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