Mary Benton Kenyon

Mary Elizabeth Benton Kenyon died in Red Lodge, Montana, at age 90, on Dec. 18, 2017, after suffering a disabling stroke.  Family members were with her in her last days, sharing their love and gratitude for the life she had lived. Leon, her beloved husband of 68 years, sat next to her, telling her (as he had so often) that he loved her, and that she was beautiful and wonderful.  To all who knew them, their life together was, and will always be, a story of deep, inspiring love. 
Mary was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on May 26, 1927, to Emma Cockerham Benton and Fred Benton, Sr. From them she learned to use her life and enormous skills to make her community and this world a better place.  She graduated at the top of her class from Baton Rouge High School and entered Louisiana State University during WW II.  She was president of Chi Omega sorority, and, among many other activities, helped run Pelican Girls and Boys State.  Mary and Leon married in 1949 and had four children, Kathy, Leon, Bob and John.  Mary and Leon believed that the best way to raise their kids was to build youth activities in the community, so together they were active in Camp Fire Girls, YMCA Indian Guides, and other youth programs.  Mary directed day and overnight camps, and led efforts to ensure camping programs were available to all the youth of Baton Rouge.  The Horizon Club group she ran for high school girls from Lee High and St. Joseph’s Academy had over 25 members and traveled all over the United States.  Mary taught by example that women could and should explore life and be leaders.  She and Leon were jointly awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Mary, with Leon by her side, was also involved in efforts to peacefully integrate the public schools in the 1960s.  She was recognized by the YWCA for activities on behalf of social justice and civil rights. Mary and Leon were early members of the Baton Rouge Unitarian Fellowship.  She will be remembered as a remarkable and caring woman by so many.
In retirement, Mary and Leon built a home in Red Lodge, Montana (to escape Louisiana heat in summer), and came to love the area and make good friends.  They made many trips into Yellowstone National Park with friends and family, and for years participated in the Red Lodge Natural History Institute.  Mary and Leon, who both developed Alzheimer’s Disease while in their late 80s, moved to their home in Red Lodge full-time in November 2015 with the help of their daughter and son-in-law, Don Redfoot, and a wonderful team of caregivers, Chris Bertolino, Tammy Barstad, Gena Bell, and Barbara Bailly. 
Throughout their lives, Mary and Leon enjoyed sharing life with and helping their children, their grandchildren, extended family, and close friends. Mary is survived by her husband Leon C. Kenyon, brother and sister-in-law Tommy and Jodie Benton, sister-in-law Courtney Benton, and by her children and their spouses, Kathy’s husband Don Redfoot, Leon’s wife Cindy Burlingham, and John’s wife Nancy Kenyon, and five grandchildren and a step grandchild (Kenyon and Emma Redfoot, Robert Kenyon, Michael and William Kenyon, Sam Kenyon, and Jake Munic), as well as many much-loved nieces and nephews and their children. Preceding her in death were her parents, brother Fred Benton, Jr., and Bob’s wife Judith Kenyon.
Mary will always be in our hearts, assuring us we are loved. 
A Celebration of Life will be held at the home of Mary and Leon Kenyon, 8 Coyote Lane, Red Lodge, Dec. 23 from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Donations can be made to the Beartooth Billings Clinic Foundation and Red Lodge Fire and Rescue.

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Upcoming Events

  • Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 9:30am
    The annual meeting of the Carbon County Arts Guild is Jan. 17 at 9:30 a.m. in the north gallery. The agenda is: Review of 2017 Annual Report; Old Business; Election of Officers for 2018; New Business; Comments and Announcements. The public is welcome to attend.
  • Wednesday, January 17, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, January 19, 2018 - 12:30pm
    The Red Lodge Roberts Ambulance District will conduct a regular meeting of the Board of Trustees, Jan. 19 at 12:30 p.m. at the Red Lodge Fire Station. A complete agenda can be found at www.redlodgefire.com/news.
  • Friday, January 19, 2018 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.