Phyllis Rose Benike — Oronoco

Phyllis Rose Benike (Kunz), 85, of Pine Island, passed away peacefully Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, at Prairie Meadows Senior Care in Kasson surrounded by her family.

The funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 25, at The Church of St. Michael in Pine Island, with Father Randal Kasel officiating. Burial will be at the Pine Island Cemetery.

Visitation will be held Thursday, Oct. 24, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the River Park Chapel at Macken Funeral Home, and one hour prior to the Mass.

Phyllis Rose Kunz was born June 5, 1928, in Rochester, to Wilbur "Bill" and Mary Josephine (Hillesheim) Kunz. Phyllis attended Pine Island Elementary School, and graduated from Lourdes High School in Rochester in 1946. She then attended St. Mary's School of Nursing from 1946 to 1949, graduating with an R.N. degree. She worked at Saint Marys Hospital on the Obstetrics Ward, loving every minute of it. She recalled fondly her love for the babies that she cared for, and all babies, for the remainder of her life. On Sept. 16, 1952, she married Arlie Arthur Benike (from the Potsdam area) at St. John's Catholic Church in Rochester. They lived on a dairy, and later converted to a beef and crop operation near Oronoco for 56 years.

Phyllis was a member of St. Michael's Catholic Church and Saint Isabella's Circle in Pine Island. She was also the librarian at the Rochester Senior Center for 20 years. She had a special gift with babies, the elderly and the infirm. She especially enjoyed flower-gardening, reading, knitting/crochet, playing cards with her neighbors, kittens, classic movies, cooking and planning birthday and holiday festivities. She was famous among her family and friends for her home-cooked meals, especially her potato salad. But above all, she loved her family and friends. Her grandchildren brought another layer of special joy to her life. We will miss her asking for yet another copy of a photo, or a hug before we left.

Phyllis is survived by her husband of 61 years, Arlie; her children, David Benike of Rochester, Daniel (Kim) Benike of Rockford, Mary Gauthier of Pine Island, Chris (Sandee) Benike of Pine Island and Kathy (Deick) Bridley of Lake City; five grandchildren, Jennifer, Ryan, Danielle, Michael, Jeffrey; one great-grandchild, Kasey; a sister, Arlene Juberian of Rochester; and a brother, Gerald Kunz of Hot Springs, Ark.

Phyllis was preceded in death by her parents Wilbur and Mary, two sisters, Maxine Liudahl and Francis Bratrud and a brother, Ralph Kunz.

Online condolences may be made at .