Mary Melicia Benech, the daughter of Salvator and Angelina Melicia, was born on June 21, 1927 in Monterey, CA. She was one of five children, brother Ted (deceased), sister Rose, her twin sister Louise (deceased) and sister Angelina (deceased). Her father Salvator was born in Isola della Femmine, Sicily, and after serving in the Italian military came to America and settled in Monterey before sending for his wife Angelina. He provided for his family by joining in the local fishing industry with his two purse seiners, the New Limited and the Sherman Rose.
Mary attended Monterey High School and graduated with the class of 1946. All through high school she worked at the State Theatre. During the time of World War II, when all the men were off fighting, she filled in as a packer at the San Carlos Cannery. After graduation she went to work for Montgomery Wards as the Catalog Manager and continued working there on and off for over twenty years. Later in her life, she worked part-time at Mike's Seafood and Casa Karmelkorn.
Mary met the love of her life, Henry Benech Jr., in 1947 who she dated for a year before getting engaged. They were married on September 4, 1949 at San Carlos Cathedral. They have four children, Kathleen, David, William, and Janice. They also have one granddaughter, Cara Rose, who currently attends Santa Clara University School of Law.
Mary has always enjoyed donating her time to various organizations:
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula for 37 years, over 12,500 hours
Italian Catholic Federation Branch #36 for 17 years; Festa Italia for 8 years
Monterey County Fair Ag Country Store for 5 years; Alliance on Aging for 7 years
Mary is proud to be honored by the Italian Heritage Society, AKA The Italian American Cultural Foundation.