Marie Mitchell Bennett, who modeled for Baltimore department stores before becoming an executive secretary and a store owner, died Monday of leukemia at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care in Towson. She was 72.
Mrs. Bennett was born in Baltimore and raised in Roland Park. She graduated in 1953 from Eastern High School, where she was a member of Phi Omega sorority.
She completed a one-year program at Bard Avon business school in Baltimore and then married Raymond Edward Adolph of Timonium. The couple had three children before their marriage ended in divorce in 1962.
After spending several years at home with her children, Mrs. Bennett took a job as a runway model, displaying clothes for Hutzler's and Stewart's department stores during afternoon teas, bridal shows and other events.
She became an executive secretary to David S. Brown, founder of a real estate and property management company. She then worked as an executive secretary to a vice president at the Lord Baltimore Hotel and to an Eastern Shore businessman.
In 1980, she married Alvin Leroy Bennett. The two lived in Buxton, N.C., until Mr. Bennett died in 2005.
In North Carolina, Mrs. Bennett owned a shop for 15 years selling Hallmark products and flowers.
She sold that business and took on a volunteer position running a Meals on Wheels program for up to 20 seniors on Hatteras Island. She planned menus, cooked meals and coordinated drivers four days a week until she became ill in 2005 and moved back to Baltimore to be close to her family.
She enjoyed gardening, was an accomplished quilter who taught others to quilt and made items for her family.
She also played the ukulele, and "singing was a big part of our life," said her daughter, Sharon Lee Simmons of Boynton Beach, Fla.
Mrs. Simmons said that when her mother died, she was surrounded by her three children, who sang one of their favorite songs, "I'd Do Anything," from the musical Oliver.
The family will have a celebration of Mrs. Bennett's life at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the home of Brian and Laurie Adolph, 315 N. Hickory Ave., Bel Air.
In addition to her daughter, Mrs. Bennett is survived by two sons, J. Mitchell Adolph of Glen Arm and Brian Keen Adolph of Bel Air; a sister, Celeste Boteler of Westminster; a stepbrother, James McNamee of Baltimore; and five grandchildren.