Mary Jean Benson, 95, Escanaba, passed away on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at her home.
She was born in Escanaba on July 8, 1920, daughter of the late Paul and Marie (Jaeger) Rademacher.
Mary Jean graduated from St. Joseph High School.
She met and married Grant Benson while in the service. He preceded her in death after only a few years of marriage.
After high school she attended nursing school in Milwaukee until she joined the United States Army for four years. Mary Jean then enlisted in the United States Air Force. She served during WWII and was a pioneer in the now common use of the I.V.
She was awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, American Defense Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and the Air Force Longevity Service Award. She was honorably discharged as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving nearly 28 years on April 30, 1971.
Mary Jean was a member of St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church. Every summer, she secretly donated gladiolas to decorate the alter which she enjoyed.
Her nieces and nephews fondly remember her stating that she was “Ornery as ever.” She often greeted them with saying, “How are you doing, b-r-a-t?”
She is survived by three brothers, John Rademacher of North Fort Meyers, FL, David (Sue) Rademacher of St. Paul, MN, and Robert Rademacher of Fond du Lac, WI; and many nieces and nephews.
Mary Jean was preceded in death by her parents and seven brothers and sisters.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church in Escanaba. A meal will follow in the church hall.
Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery.
The Crawford Funeral Homes are assisting the Bensons.