Obituary: Virginia Benningfield

Great-grandmother, active in her community, was 100 years old

Virginia Benningfield, mother of former Claremont Mayor Diann Ring, died peacefully July 1 at Mount San Antonio Gardens with her granddaughter, Susan Ring, and close friends and caregivers at her side. She was born July 7, 1922, and had celebrated her 100th birthday with a large party last year.

Born in Clarksville, Texas, she married her high school sweetheart, Jasper Thomas Benningfield, in January 1940. Following Thomas’ service in World War II, the couple, with young daughter Diann, moved to McKinney, Texas in 1949 to open a local branch of a successful business which still exists today. He was the manager and she was the bookkeeper and sometimes assistant manager.

For more than 50 years, the couple were quite active, with many community activities, especially at the First Baptist Church. Mrs. Benningfield also will be remembered as one of the leaders of the TAC Horizon Club, an unusually involved group of 27 girls who graduated from McKinney High School in 1961.

Following her husband’s death in 2005, Mrs. Benningfield moved to Mount San Antonio Gardens to be near her Ring family in Claremont. She was quite active in community activities during her 15-year residency in California.

She loved parties, thoroughly enjoyed her 100th birthday celebration, and was looking forward to her 101st. She especially loved hosting Halloween parties almost every year she was here.  These started out as small affairs but seemingly grew larger every year. The photo featured here was taken just last Halloween.

Mrs. Benningfield is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Diann and Robert Ring; grandchildren Rob and Susan Ring; daughter-in-law Julie Ring; and great-grandchildren Jasper and Ella. She is also survived by a sister-in-law and a number of nephews and nieces.

Internment was a small, intimate service at Ridgeview Memorial Park in Texas. Larger celebrations of Mrs. Benningfield’s life will be held at later dates in McKinney and California.


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