She was born Nov. 17, 1933, in Winchester, VA, graduated from John Handley High School, Winchester and Hollins College, Hollins, VA.
On Aug. 10, 1957, Ann married Cleveland Keith Benedict at Christ Church, Winchester, VA. Ann and Cleve have three children, Cooper (Candie) of Lewisburg, Ruth (John) Mercer of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and Pinckney (Laura) of Carbondale, Illinois. They have 10 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren.
Ann never refused a challenge. In the 1960s, she accepted a challenge from Tommy Sydenstricker, Manager of the West Virginia State Fair, to rejuvenate and manage the State Fair Horse Show. This job led her to help organize a precursor of the Greenbrier County 4-H Horse Show. She was a member of the Board of the Family Refuge Center during its early years. She served until the Refuge Center Shelter was established and the organization fully accepted by the community. Ann served in virtually every leadership capacity at St. James Episcopal Church in Lewisburg; from choir to Vestry, Senior Warden to Chair of a Building Committee. Ann led a West Virginia Diocesan Committee which created the New Dynamics Fund for the ‘90s and helped raise initial funding. She also served on the Diocesan Commission on Ministry for two bishops. During the years, Ann found time to serve as a Girl Scout Troop leader and as a Board Member of the Black Diamond Council of the Girl Scouts of America.
Ann was an original organizer of the Greenbrier Valley Theatre, in the early days a summer theatre in a tent on the banks of the Greenbrier River. The Theatre moved through assorted venues until the Greenbrier Valley Airport Authority offered space at the Airport. An old barn was dismantled and “The Barn at the Airport” became the theatre’s home for approximately 20 years. Eventually the frequent presence of wildlife in the dressing rooms and under the bleachers, plus a need for air-conditioning, the need for a permanent home became obvious. Ann loved to tell how she secured the purchase of the theatre’s present home on Washington Street on then Artistic Director Cathey Sawyer’s birthday. She was thoroughly committed to the financing and remodeling of the original Leggett’s Building. However, her love of theatre went far beyond her devotion to GVT the organization. She loved the stage from the discipline of performing to the limelight and appreciation of the audience. She starred in a range of roles from farce/comedy to intense drama, loving every minute of time on stage. Her dedication to theatre and her skill on the stage led to her membership in the Actors’ Equity Association, an accomplishment of which she was enormously proud. When dementia made learning lines impossible, she retired and loved watching other talents develop on the GVT stage.
Ann Benedict will be remembered by many for a life of accomplishment, well lived.
Friends are invited to an informal gathering to celebrate Ann’s life on Friday, Oct. 22 at the Dutch Haus Restaurant, 368 Brush Road, Lewisburg, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The Funeral liturgy will be held on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 11 a.m. at St. James Episcopal Church, 468 Church Street, Lewisburg. All are welcome to attend.
Gifts in lieu of flowers may be sent to The Greenbrier Valley Theatre, 1038 E Washington St., Lewisburg WV 24901 or to Peyton Hospice House, 1265 Maplewood Ave., Lewisburg WV 24901.
Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home in Lewisburg is in charge of arrangements. Please send online condolences by visiting www.WallaceandWallaceFH.com.