Irma Paula Benjamin ascended on March 12, 2009 in Davis, CA. Irma was born in New York City on February 26, 1936 as Irma Paula Wickel, the oldest daughter of Karl and Helen. She graduated from Cathedral High School and business school, eventually becoming a legal secretary for a New York City law firm. While volunteering for the USO, she met and married Richard Benjamin in 1958. He was her devoted husband for 51 years until she departed due to complications stemming from a degenerative neurological condition she had battled for the past 10 years.
Richards work with the US Forest Service required frequent moves, and Irma traveled with him wherever he was assigned. They lived in remote locations, such as Challis, Idaho and Dutch John, Utah, eventually moving to the larger urban areas of Washington, D.C. and finally, San Francisco, CA. Irma lived with Richard in Novato, CA for nearly 25 years before moving to the Sierra Health Care Center in Davis, CA for the last two years. She and her husband were active members of Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church in Novato.
Together with her husband, Irma had four sons and one daughter and all survive her. Eric is in Rural Retreat, VA with his wife Kim; Chris is in Las Vegas, NV with his wife Stephanie; Marty is in Poway, CA with his wife Heather; Karl is in Davis, CA with his wife Karen; and Katrina Knighton is in Davis, CA with her husband Jason. Her brother Robert Wickel and his wife Linda in Redding, CA, as well as many other relatives around the country also survive Irma. She leaves ten grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
Irma was an energetic and vibrant individual all her life. She worked both full and part time as a bookkeeper for several businesses prior to retiring a few years ago. She had a passion for the arts, particularly dancing and theater. She enjoyed tap dancing, jazzercise, and especially Middle Eastern dancing. She belonged to the Dancers of the Desert Dance Troup in Novato for over 20 years. She also participated in the Novato Community Theater working back stage, and performing. Her smile and zest for life was truly inspiring to all who knew her.
A memorial Mass is scheduled for March 27, 2009 at 10:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Loretto Church in Novato, CA. A luncheon will follow in the Church Hall.
In lieu of flowers, contribution in Irmas name may be made to the University of California, San Francisco for research focusing on brain disorders. UCSF Foundation Memory and Aging Center PO Box 1207 San Francisco, CA 94143-1207 on line at: www.memory.ucsf.edu Or to: Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church in Novato, CA