CONOVER Mary Elizabeth Poe Benton, 54, of Conover, died unexpectedly at Wake Forest Medical Center in Winston-Salem, Thursday, July 4, 2019, following a brief illness. Born Sept. 3, 1964, to James David Poe and Rebecca Honeycutt Poe, she was preceded in death by her paternal and maternal grandparents, Quincey and Rachel Poe of Granite Falls, and Guy and Pauline Honeycutt of Hickory. She is survived by her husband of 30 years, Clarence R. Benton II; her parents, David and Rebecca Poe; a brother, James David Poe II (Dusty); aunts Janice Lane (Jim) and Leslie Barnette (Douglas); uncles Nick Poe (Brenda) and Gifford Poe (Peggy); and numerous cousins and friends. Mary was a 1982 graduate of St. Stephens High School and Lenoir-Rhyne University where she completed both an undergraduate and a master's degree. She was employed for 16 1/2 years by Clint Canaday as the office manager of MCL Engineers until the close of that business. She was most recently employed as a substitute teacher for Catawba County Schools, where she especially loved to work with special needs students. Mary was a kind and generous person. She had a wonderful heart and was good to everyone she met. She was an avid animal lover and at one time attended N.C. State University with the intentions of becoming a veterinarian. Along with her parents, she raised and showed American Quarter Horses all through her youth, winning many local and state titles. Her love for animals was best evidenced by the safe haven she provided for the many feral and stray cats that found their way to her home over the years. A memorial service for Mary Elizabeth Poe Benton will be held Saturday, July 13, at 2 p.m., at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Newton-Conover building located at 503 Thornburg Dr. in Conover. Bishop Brian Lutz will conduct. The family will receive friends at the church building, one hour prior to the memorial service. Mary will be missed! Memorials can be made to the Ashley Hope Barnette Memorial Scholarship Fund (Mary's cousin) at 5307 East Piedmont Cir., Conover, NC 28613 or to the Humane Society of Catawba County at P.O. Box 63, Hickory, NC 28603. Please sign the online guestbook at www.jenkinsfuneralhome.net. The Benton family has entrusted arrangements to Jenkins Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Newton, 828-464-1555.

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