NORTON---Rita Jean (Zema) Benya passed away Sunday, March 1, 2020 in Norton, Ohio at the age of 90. She was born Dec 14, 1929 in Barberton, Ohio to Mary (Herzak) and John K. Zema. Her entire life revolved around her Byzantine Catholic Faith and her family. She was a lifelong member of St Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church; dedicated 60 years of her life as choir director, a member of the Altar Society and one of the Catering Managers. Instrumental in producing 3 CD’s of the choir singing, two of which were presented to Pope Benedict, and organizing multi religious concerts and additional CD’s of “Singing Praise to God.” She graduated from St. Thomas School of Nursing as an RN, worked many years as an obstetric nurse, was active in the Jaycees, loved performing in Kiwanis stage shows, appeared with the choir on the Polka Variety show, and owned and managed Hunky Dory Pastries for 15 years; but most importantly, she was our Mom. She was a fabulous baker and cook, tirelessly took care of her husband, 6 daughters and later in life, cared for 10 grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her husband “Steve” Stephen Nicholas Benya (2007) and grand-daughter “Katie” Kathryn Jean Seay (2003). She is survived by her two sisters Mary Ann Cralley (CA) and Shirley Nicholson (TN); six daughters, Mary Kay (Ray) Stevens, Susan (Carlos) Negron, Jean (Bill) Seay, Karen (Joe) Miller, Linda (Jeff) Strobel, and Amy Benya; 10 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. Rita lived and died in her faith, fighting the good fight by the Grace of God from the beginning to the very end of her life. Their home was always the site of family dinners, especially Christmas and Easter with Lamb, Pasca, Pysanki, Hrudka and loads of ethnic pastries. Calling hours will be Friday, March 6, 2020 from 5 to 7 pm at SILVA-HOSTETLER FUNERAL HOME, 1199 Wooster Rd. West, Barberton, with Parastas service at 7 pm. Byzantine Catholic Burial Services at St Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church, 1051 Robinson Ave., Barberton on Saturday, March 7, 2020, with a viewing at 9 am, Rosary at 9:30 am and services at 10 am. Interment at St. Nicholas Cemetery in Clinton. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in her honor to the St Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church Dome fund in Barberton, Ohio.
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