Benita Russey Perabo was born May 27, 1924, in Dallas, Texas. Her long and remarkable life of 93 years ended on January 3, 2018. Benita was the only child of William E. and Vera Russey. She graduated salutatorian from Our Lady of Good Counsel Academy (Dallas) in 1941.
During the War, Benita did her part by working at North American Aviation, a company that produced the P-51 Mustang. It was after the War that she met the love of her life, Phil Perabo, a naval aviator, whose job at that time was to ferry airplanes from one coast to the other. Phil always seemed to have engine problems as he neared Dallas, where he would then have to stay for a day or two until the “problem” was corrected. Benita and Phil married in 1949 in Monterey, California, where he was stationed. Their 65 year marriage was filled with love, laughter, adventure, and four children.
Benita was the life of the party and also probably the smartest girl in any room. She was classy, well-dressed, and always coiffed. Every Thursday revolved around her weekly appointment with her beautician and friend, Donna Marshall, who would lovingly style her hair and then pronounce that Benita looked “precious.” Benita spent several years working with Phil in their real estate business, but she found she enjoyed her time more working at her church’s outreach ministries: The Good Shepherd Corner and as an” Egg Lady. “ Benita never thought of herself as exceptional, but exceptional describes her perfectly. She was loving, giving, and highly-opinionated. (Just ask anyone who knew her!)
Her beloved husband, Phil, preceded her in death on May 18, 2014. She is survived by her children: Phyllis (Chris) Parr, John (Nina) Perabo, Mark (Jacqie) Perabo all of Corpus Christi, and Mary (David) Garza of Austin. She leaves nine grandchildren: David Parr, Molly Parr, Brant (Gil) Gonzalez, Aaron Garza, Jeffrey Perabo, Jack Perabo, Arden Perabo, Ensign Phillip Perabo USN, and Pamela Perabo, and one great-grandchild, Dylan Gonzalez.
She lived her life devoted to God, her family, her country, and her community, and inspired all who knew her. A memorial service will be held at Church of the Good Shepherd at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 27, 2018. She will be buried with Phil at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. at a later date.
In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in her name to Church of the Good Shepherd, 700 S. Upper Broadway, Corpus Christi, Texas 78401.