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Dorothy A. Benson

May 29, 1925 ~ October 9, 2021 (age 96)


Life Story of Dorothy A. Benson


Dorothy Ann Benson was the second of seven children born on May 29,1925 to the late Lilla and Wilmer Ford Sr. in Philadelphia, PA. Dot as she was often called grew up in the Grays Ferry neighborhood of South Philadelphia. She was educated in the Philadelphia Public Schools but spent much of her teenage years helping to raise her younger siblings.


On June 29, 1946, Dorothy married her childhood sweetheart, Ralph Benson Jr., who lived across the street in Grays Ferry. Their loving union produced two children, Ralph III (Ralphie) and Diane Elaine. Dorothy was a loving, supportive, and nurturing wife and mother. She often spoiled her children and let them go outside and play without doing their chores. She was a devoted and adoring Mom Mom. She doted on all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She loved to babysit and have them sleepover. They were always happy to go to Mom Mom’s, their second home.


The family settled in the Overbrook neighborhood of West Philadelphia. She was a kind neighbor and a friend to all. She was always willing to give and help others, especially her family. Dorothy spent most of her life as a homemaker and devoted to her family. While Ralph often worked two jobs to provide the best for his wife and children she maintained a beautiful home.  She painted, reupholstered chairs, made slipcovers, curtains and drapes. Dorothy occasionally took jobs as a seamstress in a bridal shop, a worker in the garment district and cared for family and neighbors children.  


Dorothy was a seamstress extraordinaire. God blessed her with the talent to sew. She designed and made everything. Family and friends would ask her to make dresses, prom gowns, suits, coats, and outfits for special events. She expertly tailored suits and jackets for her husband and son. She was also a milliner who created beautiful hats adorned with flowers and ribbon. Her work was often seen in church and local fashion shows. Her most cherished work was her daughter Diane’s wedding gown which she hand-sewed over one thousand beads.


Dorothy and Ralph were happily married for over 70 years. They sat side by side in their matching recliners watching baseball, their favorite game shows, PBS mysteries and Lawrence Welk. Dorothy was a loyal Philadelphia Phillies fan. She and her son would often converse about the games. She would name each of her favorite players. Dorothy and Ralph enjoyed the activities at the Star Harbor Senior Center in Southwest Philadelphia. They would double date with her brother Wilmer (June) and sister in-law Hazel to the casinos in Atlantic City. Dorothy really enjoyed playing the slot machines winning big on their 50th wedding anniversary trip to Las Vegas.


Dorothy joined Williams Temple C.M.E. Church in South Philadelphia at the young age of twelve. She and Ralph were both faithful members most of the lives. For sixty years, she served as a Stewardess and he served as a Steward. As time passed they were unable to physically attend church. Recent events and the restrictions of Covid-19 enabled Dorothy to virtually reconnect with her church family. She looked forward to the first Sunday of every month. Adorned in her pearls and lipstick she would join Williams Temple virtually to take communion and share in the worship. When service was over, her Pastor, Reverend Tiggs Washington would let the church family greet and give warm wishes to Sister Benson. Dorothy loved waving and talking to her old friends. This made her feel so special and connected with her church family.


Dorothy’s most favorite thing was PA Lottery scratch off cards. It started in her late eighties when she didn’t get out much. Dorothy would buy a few and over the years it became an obsession. She looked forward to the 15th and 30th of each month to receive her scratch offs. It was a major production. She had an apron, gloves, scratch off tools, a special table and lamp and a plate for her winning cards. Family and friends sent scratch offs all the time. Dorothy was the Scratch-off Queen.


Dorothy was the matriarch and the family historian. She had a sharp memory and could recall names, facts and family stories decades old. Over the years she enjoyed surprise visits from members of the family. Everyone would receive a card with a small token of her love for birthdays, anniversaries, and especially Christmas no matter how old they were.


With her children at her side, God peacefully called Dorothy home on Saturday, October 9, 2021. Dorothy was loved, respected and she will be missed by many. She leaves to cherish wonderful memories her two devoted children Ralph III (Phyliss) ; Diane Branch-Jones (Aubrey Jr-deceased); six  grandchildren, Rochelle (Lester) Brown, Damon (Jazmine) Branch, Ralph IV, Danielle Branch,  Aubrey B.Jones III, Adrienne C. Jones; two great grandchildren, Jasmine Wilson, Zoe Brown; brother; James (Geraldine) Ford; sister; Nancy (Robert) Pettigrew, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, family and friends.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dorothy, please visit our floral store.


October 22, 2021

8:00 AM to 10:00 AM
Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church
230 W. Coulter Street
Philadelphia, PA 19144

Celebration of Life
October 22, 2021

10:00 AM
Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church
230 W. Coulter Street
Philadelphia, PA 19144


Chelten Hills Cemetery
1701 Washington Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19138

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