Pro Life movement, Mrs. Bendel defied the limitations of rheumatoid arthritis by perpetually remaining active.
Rosemary Bendel died Tuesday at McKeesport Hospital. She was 78. Along with sons John, Patrick Joseph and Michael and daughters Christina (Venturini), Mary Rose and Elizabeth, she also had seven grandchildren.
"My mother was a lady of great faith and she set an example to others in the way she lived her life," said daughter Christina Venturini of Salem Township. "She and my father were the two most generous people I've known."
A woman of great Roman Catholic faith, Mrs. Bendel often called youngest daughter Beth "My Gift from God." Beth, born with Down Syndrome, dutifully assisted her mother as she overcame arthritis and the duo formed a bond that made them inseparable. Rosemary and Beth lived together in the family's longtime home on Manor Avenue in McKeesport.
While passionately raising her children, Mrs. Bendel still found time to vigorously fight for the rights of unborn children as vice president of the Western Pennsylvania chapter for "People Concerned for the Unborn Child." She made annual visits to Washington, D.C., to protest the government's stand on human rights. It was once written that, "Even though her arthritis inhibited her ability to walk, it never kept her from marching for her cause." She was honored in the early '90's by her alma mater, Carlow College, as "Woman of the Year" for her love of family and commitment to Pro Life. Daughter Beth wowed the panel with a video testimony, unbeknowst to Rosemary. PCUC honored her and husband, Joe, with a lifetime achievement award in 2000.
"She chose not to go to the ceremony at Carlow College, not because she wasn't honored - she was tickled - but because she was embarrassed by the attention," son Joseph said, pointing out that Mrs. Bendel's home always featured the muscial sounds of Irish songs, show tunes and anything that was upbeat. "She let my father and the family enjoy the spotlight. She was most comfortable under the radar."
ROSEMARY DIXON BENDEL
Rosemary Bendel died Tuesday, June 1, 2010 in Select Specialty Hospital, McKeesport, PA. Born in McKeesport, October 4, 1931, age 78. Of McKeesport, she was a member of St. Martin de Porres Parish, a graduate of St. Peter’s High School, class of 1949, a graduate of Mount Mercy College (Carlow College), and worked as a home economics teacher at McKeesport High School and York High School until 1960.
Daughter of the late John and Mary Rose McManus Dixon; wife of the late Joseph J. Bendel, former Mayor of McKeesport; mother of Christina (Lenny) Venturini of Salem Township, John (Andrea) Bendel of Mt. Lebanon, Patrick Bendel of Oakdale, Joseph (Caitlin) Bendel of the South Side, Mary Rose Bendel of McKeesport, Michael (Misty) Bendel of McKeesport, and Elizabeth Ann Bendel of McKeesport; grandmother of Blaise and Anna Venturini, Chris, Dane, and Theresa Bendel, Rhyley Bendel, and Amanda Rose Bendel; sister of Ed Dixon of East Lansing, MI.
Friends will be received in the Hunter Funeral Home, Inc., 1600 Coursin Street, McKeesport, PA 15132 Thursday from 2-4 & 7-9 PM. A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Friday, June 4, 2010 at 10:30 AM in St. Martin de Porres Church by the Rev. Raymond Trance. Interment will follow in New St. Joseph Cemetery. The family suggests contributions to People Concerned for the Unborn Child.
Rosemary Bendel humbly lived life with little fanfare, yet her impact was resounding. The mother of seven children, the wife of deceased former McKeesport mayor Joseph Bendel and a passionate devotee to the