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Elizabeth Benzinger, Lutherville resident and family matriarch, dies

Elizabeth Mays Benzinger, the matriarch of her family who delighted in her role as a grandmother of 12, died at Sinai Hospital March 25 of complications from a fall she suffered at her Lutherville home several days earlier. She was 93.

Elizabeth Mays was born on Christmas Day, 1923, at her family's farm in Parkton. She was the daughter of William Henry Mays, a cattle and corn farmer, and Annie Mabel Turnbaugh.

She attended Baltimore County public schools in Hereford and earned a degree at Towson University.

She became an executive assistant at a law firm in downtown and married James F. Benzinger, an industrial valves salesman, in 1949.

They lived on Evesham Avenue in Govans, where she raised her family until the city of Baltimore claimed the home to facilitate the widening of Northern Parkway in the 1960s. She and her husband then moved to Lutherville.

"She was unshakeable in her Christian faith," said her daughter, Peg Benzinger of Reisterstown. "She had a warm smile, gentle laugh and undaunted determination. She was a true lady and anyone was welcome at her home. She was a country girl at heart."

She enjoyed reading and supporting historical and veterans charities. She raised roses and day lilies in several beds she maintained around her home.

She was a member of Timonium Presbyterian Church, where as a lay reader she read from the Book of Proverbs each Mother's Day. Family members said she known throughout her circle of friends as "Grandma."

She made recipes from Southern Living magazine and was a devotee of Colonial Williamsburg, Va., where she took her family on outings. She excelled at homemaking and hosted two of her daughters' wedding receptions.

Her daughter said Mrs. Benzinger did not drink alcohol — but at Thanksgiving and Christmas, she would say that a cake she baked "needs more rum."

A visitation will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include a son, Jay Benzinger, and two other daughters, Betsy Eubank and Sally Russell, all of Lutherville; two brothers, Kenneth Mays of Hanover, Pa., and Robert "Bob" Mays of Stewartstown, Pa; 12 grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter. Her husband of 45 years died in 1994.

—Jacques Kelly

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