Charmaine Honey Benston dies at 63 in Klawock

Charmaine Honey Benston, 63, passed away on Feb. 1 in Klawock. She was born on Dec. 20, 1959, in Wrangell to Gladys and Gilbert Gunderson. She was the youngest member of the family. As a child she resided in Wrangell, attending school and later getting her GED.

She moved to Klawock on Prince of Wales Island, where she met her husband, Carl Benston, in 1997. They were married on July 2, 1999. "She loved Prince of Wales Island, especially as each season came and went and putting up traditional seasonal foods. She was very generous with her Native foods, especially black seaweed and jarred smoked salmon," her family wrote. "We'll all miss her foods and generosity."

She worked at the Dockside Cafe in Craig as a prep cook and dishwasher. "She was a hard worker and a huge people person, she fit right in," her family wrote. "One of the first things people say is that they remember her laugh. She loved to laugh and she loved to dance. She loved street dances or at Native doings, when they would call out people to dance with them, she couldn't get up fast enough, or if they asked if anybody wanted to join in Native games, there she would be laughing so hard. She had a free spirit, nothing scared her, and it was contagious."

Charmaine loved animals and animals loved her. She had 17 cats and called them by name. Deer would regularly come on her property, unafraid. "If you happen to stop by and visit, you'd always find her working on something or in her garden, she had a very green thumb," her family wrote. "Charmaine had many colorful sayings, but the one that sticks out is 'I kid you not!' She loved the Lord and the Lord's Prayer. She recently posted on social media, 'I don't know what God plans for me, but I am ready for what plans God has.' She missed her family members who had gone before her. She also missed her grandkids and children whom she loved dearly."

She is survived by her husband, Carl Benston ,of Klawock; sons Malcolm and Kenny Macauley of Washington state; sisters Arlene Gedney and Eleanor Knecht, of Wrangell; brothers Joe Huke, of Wrangell, and Marcus Gunderson, of Port Angeles, Washington; and eight grandchildren.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Gladys and Gilbert Gunderson; sisters Roseanne Hayes and Sharon Scherrer; and brothers Arnold Gunderson and Lyle Jones.

A viewing was held at Ketchikan Mortuary on Feb. 7. Carl Benston plans a ceremony for Charmaine at a later date in Klawock.


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