MaryAnn Benincasa

Obituary of MaryAnn Benincasa

Mary Ann DiNicola Benincasa PENFIELD – Passed away peacefully on February 23, 2022. Predeceased by her husband Anthony, parents, Antonio and Assunta DiNicola; siblings, Gitano, Amerigo, Vincenza. Survived by her son, Charles (Patricia); granddaughters and great-grandchildren, Christine (Brian) Van Etten and June; Mary (Travis) Zainchowski and Rune. Many nieces, nephews and cousins. Born of Italian immigrants May 12, 1933, Mary Ann grew up on Woodward Street in the City of Rochester, attending Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and School on Ontario Street. Proudly graduating from Our Lady of Mercy High School in 1951, she married her beloved husband Anthony in 1952. Mary Ann began her career in 1960 with the Retail Clerks International Union in Rochester. A prodigious and hard worker, she rose through the ranks and in 1970 was elected Recorder of the Union and then Secretary-Treasurer in 1978. With the merger of the Retail Clerks International and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), Mary Ann was elected Vice-President of the UFCW Local One. She also served on the AFL-CIO Rochester Labor Council. As stated in a profile article in the Democrat and Chronicle in 1990, "Benincasa said her lifelong interest in the labor movement stemmed in part from her parents' experiences working for non-union companies. "I could remember how hard my mother worked for so little pay. I figured, it has got to be better than that."" A fighter for Women's Rights, Mary Ann organized support for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution to eliminate laws discriminating against women. In her career, Mary Ann presented a paper, "Women in Our Technological Society" as the US representative at the first Asia-FIET Regional Women Conference in Penang, Malaysia meeting with many women in the labor movement in Malaysia and Japan. She also traveled to Israel after working successfully to raise funds for Histadrut bonds for the State of Israel. Mary Ann displayed tremendous civic duty with her involvement in politics. She served as the Secretary of the Monroe Democratic Executive Committee and was instrumental in the campaign of Jimmy Carter for President in Monroe County in 1976. She often recalled her first meeting with Jimmy Carter in Rochester when he was beginning his campaign for President. She fondly recalled subsequent meetings with Jimmy Carter; a drive in the Presidential Limousine to the airport; and time in the Rose Garden with the President. She worked hard on getting President Carter re-elected again in 1980. President Carter lost nationally - but he carried Monroe County! In 1985, Mary Ann was appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo to New York State Assistant Commissioner of Labor for the Rochester Region. To quote from the same 1990 article in the D&C, "Nathan J. Robfogel, former county Democratic Chairman, said, "While I was happy to see her appointed assistant commissioner, I was sorry to lose her as a political leader, he said. "You really value people who can get the jobs done. A lot of people talk a good game, but Mary Ann is a doer." As Assistant Commissioner of Labor, Mary Ann was always found to balance fairly and equitably the interest of labor with business. As stated in her profile D&C article, "Thomas T. Mooney, president of the Greater Rochester Metro Chamber of Commerce, who has worked with Benincasa on Career Expo and other projects, said she is known as a person "who is honest, whose word is good". In 1995, Mary Ann retired and devoted herself to her family, friends, Mt. Carmel Church and the poor of the Mt. Carmel/Woodward Street neighborhood, working in the soup kitchen. She loved to cook and entertain. She loved spending time with her granddaughters, great-grandchildren, and her whole extended family. She especially loved preparing the "Feast of Fishes" Christmas Eve dinner with her son, daughter-in-law, granddaughters, and the families of her niece Cheryl Rogers and nephew Joseph Scoglio. Many thanks to the aides of Comfort Keepers and the staff of Highland Hospital, Ashley Woods/Memory Care, and Hildebrandt Hospice. Funeral service and interment previously held. Donations in Mary Ann's honor may be made to the Sisters of Mercy, 1437 Blossom Road, Rochester, NY 14610 or Sisters of Mercy, 919 Norton Street, Rochester, NY 14621.
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We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Paul W. Harris Funeral Home