Shirley Ruth (Penny) Benjamin

August 22, 1936 ~ November 1, 2020 (age 84)


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Service for Shirley Ruth Benjamin of Marlin will be held on Saturday, November 7, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. St. Paul A.M.E. church in Marlin, Texas, burial will follow at Cedar Valley Cemetery in Chilton, Texas. Visitation will be on Friday, November 6, 2020 at the funeral home, from 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m. Masks are required. Ms. Benjamin will lie in state at the church on Saturday, November 7, 2020 from 9:00 a.m. until time of service. Masks are required. Services can be seen live on Francis A Green Facebook page.

Sister Shirley Ruth Penny Benjamin was the eldest of 14 children born on August 22, 1936 to Mr. Jeff David Penny, Jr. and Mrs. Georgianna Landrum Penny in Chilton, Texas.  She graduated from Fredrick Douglass High School in 1956 and from Marlin School of Vocational Nursing in 1966. She married Neal Benjamin, Jr. in 1957.  To this union four children were born.  

She attended St. Paul United Methodist Church in Chilton then joined St Paul AME Church after she married and moved to Marlin, TX.  She remained a faithful member of St. Paul for over 60 years and served in many capacities during this time. Her service included singing in the choir, working in the mission, mother of church, hospitality committee, and church financial officer.  At the 16th Session of the Northwest Texas Annual Conference, Missionary Benjamin was given the prestigious stole and title as a Missionary Pearl for her over 60 years of service in the AME Church Women’s Missionary Society. 

She sponsored an annual winter musical in February for 28 years only missing the year which one of her grandchildren was born in February.  The musical ministered to thousands over the years as well as generated thousands of dollars for the ministry.   Her greatest ministry was in hospitality.   She literally cooked and prepared thousands of meals in the church and from her home.  Even when her physical body refused to allow her to stand and cook, she continued to cook and serve from a sitting position.  It was common knowledge that anyone not just St. Paul members were welcome to stop by her home during the week as well as on Sunday to get something to eat.  Her most precious assignment was to ensure that the Ellis’ Day Home clients (Reggie, Ruthie, Nathaniel, and Laterius) had nutritious and delicious meals every day in a timely manner.  Sis. Shirley made sure there was more than enough food and ready to be served at 5pm sharp.

She was a member of the Good Samaritan Club and the City-Wide Mission.  For several years she collected toys and gifts for children of women who were in prison.  Before becoming a nurse, she worked numerous jobs including housekeeping at the hospital and giving mineral baths at the bath house.  

She worked at several nursing homes including Golden Years, Elmwood, Bremond, and Groesbeck.  She started her nursing career at Buie Hospital and Torbett’s Hospital now known as Falls County Community Hospital and Clinic.  She ended her nursing career with retirement from the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Marlin Texas.

Sis. Shirley was always trying to help someone.  Many times, she opened her home for others to not only eat but sleep and stay.  You never knew who was going to be sleeping next to you or who was going to be living on the front porch.  She loved to do laundry and insisted that white things be white. She would do your laundry and bring you a big pot of stew or beans or whatever she had.  She was an encourager and when she got her nursing degree, she pushed others she knew to do the same.  She gave her books and other materials to those who needed them to get through nursing school.  

She was preceded in death by her mother and father; five brothers (Lashone, Larry James, Clarence Edward, Calvin, and Jeff III); one beloved daughter Beverly Diane Ellis; and an adored grandson Donald Ray “Bo” Blakes. 

O how she loved her children! She poured her heart into them and sowed all she could into them.  She worked sometimes two and three jobs to make sure they got what they needed.  Cherishing her precious memory: oldest daughter Doris “Gail” Benjamin and friend Preston “Honey bear” Ball, sons Donald “Killer” Ray Benjamin (Shekeitha) and Kenneth “Big Boy” Ray Benjamin all of Ft. Worth, TX, and proceeded in death by her youngest daughter, Beverly Diane Ellis (deceased) (Rev. Eddie Ellis, Jr.) (Rev. Benita Hill-Ellis)) of Marlin TX.  Her brothers:  Leonard “Main” Penny (Myrtle) of Chilton, TX; Dennis Penny (Dorothy) of Fort Worth, TX; Charles Penny (Nora) Duncanville, TX; Calvin Penny (deceased) (Vonciel) of Arlington, TX; Jeff Penny (deceased) ( Edna) of Fort Worth, TX.  Her sisters:  Della Barrett (Raymond deceased); Bobbie McCoy (Robert “Hardtime” McCoy deceased) all of Fort Worth TX; Bennie Penny, Angel Penny, and Ruth Ann Penny all of Marlin, TX.  

She loved on and remembered fourteen grandchildren birthdays; thirteen great grandchildren birthdays; and four great, great, grandchildren birthdays. 

She is remembered by a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, church members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors encountered in the eighty-four years God gave her to us.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Shirley Ruth (Penny) Benjamin, please visit our floral store.

 Service Program


Family Private Visitation
November 6, 2020

12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Robertson Funeral and Cremation
338 Commerce Street
Marlin, TX 76661

November 6, 2020

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Robertson Funeral and Cremation
338 Commerce Street
Marlin, TX 76661

Funeral Service
November 7, 2020

11:00 AM
St. Paul A.M.E. Church
420 Aycock Street
Marlin, TX 76661

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