Culver City Observer -

Mary Davenport Benarroch Dies At 74


January 19, 2017

Longtime Culver City resident Mary Davenport Benarroch died December 6 of complications due to advanced myotonoic muscular dystrophy. She was 74.

The eldest daughter of Demorest and Winifred (Bailey) Davenport, Mary grew up in Santa Barbara where her father was on the faculty at the University of California and her mother was a longtime community volunteer.

Mary graduated from Santa Barbara High and then from the University of California at Berkeley in 1966. At Berkeley, she was one of the 800 UCB students arrested in the 1964 Free Speech Movement sit-in. While getting a master's degree in English at San Francisco State, she joined demonstrations against the Vietnam War.

In San Francisco Mary married Charles Benarroch, who suffered an early death from cancer. Moving to Culver City, she became design manager at Eva Gabor. She acted as Big Sister to a young Vietnamese refugee, Ngan (Kim) Doan, who went on to get a PhD in education.

Mary enjoyed theater and the arts and found a special friend in Shelly Cohen, who helped her live a full life as her muscular dystrophy progressed.

Throughout her life Mary enjoyed spending summers on Orcas Island, Washington, with a growing extended family. But Orcas was second to Santa Barbara, where she visited often and maintained strong ties.

In her final years Mary was faithfully looked after by Odette and Abner Galino.

Mary was pre-deceased by her sister, Lynn Davenport Simmonds, in 2014. She is survived by a niece, Heather Simmonds, nephew, Jed Simmonds (Joan), and grandnephew, Emerson; by seven cousins and their offspring; and by a wealth of in-laws and friends. Her life will be celebrated on Orcas Island next summer.


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