Karen Benziger, wife of Ceres Courier editor Jeff Benziger, died peacefully in her sleep on Friday morning after a lengthy illness. She was 51.
She passed away at home after a gallant fight against acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Her husband and children were at her side.
Mrs. Benziger was diagnosed with the disease in October 2011 after the couple wrapped up a trip to New York to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. Karen did not realize that she was ill as she physically struggled during stops at Niagara Falls and the Statue of Liberty. She spent much of the last two years in intensive chemotherapy treatments at both UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco and at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.
Karen Marie Foster Benziger was born Feb. 9, 1962 in Riverbank to William “Tom” Foster and Ann Marie Bancroft Foster. Her father was a World War II veteran. The family also lived in Oakdale before moving to Hickman in 1967. Karen attended Hickman Elementary School and Hughson High School.
The Benzigers were married in September 1981. Karen was an active and involved mother to their four children. Karen was active in her church, Community Baptist Church in Waterford and the Celebrate Recovery ministry. She was also active in youth ministries, women’s ministries, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) in Modesto. She attended a number of mission trips to a Mexican orphanage. Mrs. Benziger was a popular instructional aide, at first for Waterford Elementary School and then Waterford High School. She supported the Christian club on campus.
Karen enjoyed travelling, especially taking road trips with her husband. Their last trip was to Colorado last summer after she was released from a lengthy hospital stay. She enjoyed camping, gardening and yard work which was a passion.
Beside her husband, she leaves behind four children, Bret Benziger of North Natomas, Brandon (Stephanie) Benziger of Denver, Colo., Jennifer (David) Odom of Waterford and Jeremy Benziger of San Antonio, Texas; four brothers, Danny Foster of Glide, Ore., Steve Foster of Jamestown, Bobby Foster of Rush Springs, Okla., and David Foster of Hickman; and two grandsons, Justin Odom and Connor Odom both of Waterford. She was preceded in death by her parents.
A memorial service will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 11 at Community Baptist Church’s new ROC facility, 14143 Yosemite Blvd., Waterford.
Remembrances may be sent to Community Baptist Church, P.O. Box 155, Waterford CA 95386; or to the American Cancer Society, 1101 Sylvan Ave, Modesto, CA 95350.