MUNISING, MI. – After a brief illness, Jeanne Beverly Benam (nee Kollath), age 84, died unexpectedly but peacefully at Marquette General Hospital, August 24, 2014.
Jeanne was born June 28, 1930 in Green Bay, Wisconsin to the late Albert and Evelyn (Athey) Kollath. Jeanne graduated from West High School in 1948 and was accepted to a three year nursing program at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.
Jeanne’s love of nursing began as a teenager when she volunteered every Saturday as a Junior Scout Aide at Bellin Hospital during World War II. While attending nursing school in Chicago, Jeanne met a dental student named James Benam whom she married June 7, 1952 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. She moved with Jim and their infant daughter to Munising November 1, 1954.
Jeanne valued giving back to her community and enjoyed an active social life. Following her passion for nursing, she was a member of the Nurses Club, who dedicated their efforts to buying equipment for and furnishing patient rooms at Munising Memorial Hospital. She participated in holding immunization clinics and teaching obstetrics and other health issues to schools and hospitals. Jeanne served on the board of Munising Memorial Hospital for nine years, was employed as a public health nurse, was a charge nurse at a mental health facility, and was Director of Nursing at Tendercare.
Equal to her dedication to nursing was her commitment to Sacred Heart Church. She was a six decade long member of St. Bridget’s Circle where she found love, joy, common values, church traditions, and years of shared memories with her Sacred Heart friends and family. Jeanne served as a Eucharistic minister and participated in fund raising activities, charitable events, and parish dinners too numerous to mention.
Socially, she was involved in Dance Club, Drama Club, played golf in the women’s league, was a life long bridge affectionado who played in numerous card groups and tournaments, but especially loved teaching card games to her grandchildren while sitting round the kitchen table at camp on Round Lake. Of all her accomplishments, Jeanne considered her 62 year marriage to Jim and her seven children her greatest achievements.
She is survived by Paul and Karen Benam of Green Bay, WI, Bradley and Angela Benam of Los Angeles, CA, Lisa and Joseph Stasiuk of Cayman Islands and Marquette, MI, John and Teresa Benam of Marquette, MI, Mary and Arthur Carolan of Middleton, MA, Elizabeth Benam and Toby Sprunk of Eagle, CO, and Walter Vollenweider of Munising; eighteen grandchildren – Maury (Jimmy) Ledesma, Bradley Ward, Hans (Jenn) Vollenweider, Jeff (Vicki) Vollenweider, Megan Benam, David Benam, Michael (Chie) Benam, Jennifer (Joseph) Torez, Frankie Sarmieto, Kristie Borquez, Mistie Barelo, Peter Stasiuk, Alexandra Stasiuk, Jason Benam, Jamie Benam, Patrick Carolan, Emily Carolan, and Beverly Carolan; and nine great-grandchildren.
Jeanne was preceded in death by her parents Albert and Evelyn Kollath, her in-laws Mary and Elmer Benam, her husband James Benam, and her daughter Deborah Benam Vollenweider.
Services will be held Friday, August 29, 2014 at Sacred Heart Church at 12:10 p.m. Father Chris Gardiner will celebrate Jeanne’s memorial Mass. A luncheon and time of fellowship will take place in the parish hall following Mass. Donations in Jeanne’s memory are requested for Sacred Heart Church Youth Fund.
Her obituary and guestbook may be viewed and signed at bowermanfuneralhome.net