July 6, 1918 ~ November 30, 2011
Mary Carman passed away on November, 30, at the age of 93, at Evergreens in Moorhead.
Mary Virginia Bennett was born to Thomas Robert and Louvenia (Yancey) Bennett on July 6, 1918 at home in Jumping Branch, W. VA. The youngest of 10 children, she grew up on the family farm and during the growing season was the expert on the status of any ripening crop from strawberries and raspberries to corn and root crops. The only girl in her family to graduate from high school, Mary loved reading and writing and was Valedictorian of her Hinton High School class. The daughter of a choir director, Mary sang alto from an early age and served for many years as a church organist. At eighteen, Mary helped her brother Howard care for his young family after the death of his wife. Mary worked as the bookkeeper at a coal mining company store in Oakhill and later transferred to the Beckley office where she met William Jack Carman, a young butcher returned from World War II. They were married on June 6, 1948.
In 1954 Jack re-joined the Army and he and the family then transferred to new posts regularly living in TX, OH, SC, AK and Germany. Mary was always involved in the lives of her children, attending innumerable choir and band performances and serving in leadership positions in Brownies, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. She was active in the church and sang in a number of church and community choirs. No matter where they lived Mary always planted a flower garden (with a few tomatoes in between the flowers) and had her singer sewing machine so she could make most of the family's clothing, and also earn "pin money" as a professional seamstress. She shared her love of gardening and learning with her children and instilled a lifelong passion for reading. Jack and Mary eventually settled in El Paso, TX.
After Jack's retirement in 1978, they gardened together and won many prizes for both flowers and vegetables. In Germany, Mary discovered needlepoint and went on to create hundreds of exquisite pieces over the next thirty years - most of which she gave as gifts. After Jack's death in 1996, Mary lived in their home volunteering at church and for Meals on Wheels, and singing in the choir until she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in June 2004. When she learned she could no longer drive, Mary decided to move to North Dakota to live with her daughter Virginia and family so she would have both chauffeurs and a resident Scrabble player. She was a member of the Quilters' Guild of North Dakota, attended First Methodist Church and attended dozens of concerts to hear her granddaughters sing.
Since moving to Fargo Mary enjoyed the companionship of Linda Eidem, Home Instead, who she grew to love. Mary continued to travel with her children to visit her two sisters until the progression of the disease required a move into Memory Care at Evergreens in July 2008. Despite the many changes wrought by the disease, Mary remained pragmatic and content. She never lost her wit or sense of humor, and her broad smile continued to shine out of her eyes until her death November 30, 2011.
She is survived by her children: Virginia (Bob) Dambach, Fargo ND, William Jack Carman, Jr. Summerville, SC, Lois Kellett, Fairfax, VA and Robert (Lisa) Carman, Denver, CO., six grandchildren Mary (Zach) Leibel, Jeanne (Dustin) Steiner, Sabrina Carmichael, Amanda (Troy) Matthews, Jessica and Jake Carman, four great grand children, Bradley, Ashlynn, Chase and Reuben, and numerous nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents and siblings: Nannie Hogan, Lucille Evans, Lula Nelson and infant Paul, Melvin, Basil, Howard, Luther, and Dwight Bennett.
If desired, in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts to Hospice of the Red River Valley or the Fargo Public Library.