By MARTHA SMITH
Special to the Standard
NORTH KINGSTOWN â€“ A memorial service celebrating the life of Carla Neubert Benoist, 67, longtime animal welfare advocate and dedicated public servant, who died suddenly on Dec.3, will be held Sunday at the Cold Spring Community Center.
Although she lived in Exeter and sat on the town planning and library boards, was a member of the Republican Town Committee and the Friends of Exeter Animals, Carla retained interests in North Kingstown where she had graduated from NKHS in 1962. Her late father, Charles, was a highly-decorated naval officer of three wars, and her mother, the late Marguerite Neubert, was North Kingstownâ€™s first woman town council president. Carla later shared her motherâ€™s interest in the NK Senior Center.
She was retired from the University of Rhode Island after 28 years of service in various departments including music and talent development as well as the School of Oceanography. In recent years, she participated in tai chi and swimming classes and was a former member of Sisters in Service and the garden committee of First Lutheran Church of East Greenwich.
As a woman of faith, Carla will be remembered through prayer, scripture and music including an original piece written in her honor. There will also be readings, poetry and remembrances
from family, friends and associates.
Her daughter, Meredith Brady, said her motherâ€™s ashes, blended with those of her beloved dogs, will be scattered next Oct. 12 off Dewey Beach, Del., after an early-evening memorial service. It will be held during the annual â€śGreyhounds Reach the Beachâ€ť gathering of thousands of dogs and their owners.
â€śIt was one of her favorite places,â€ť said Meredith. â€śShe and Buck [Benoist, Carlaâ€™s late husband], attended seven years,â€ť the last time in 2006. She said her mother enjoyed the seminars, visiting the vendors, dog walks on the beach and the blessing of the animals. Dewey Beach is located a half-hour north of Ocean City, Md.
Meredith, who shared Carlaâ€™s devotion to greyhounds, said she and her mother learned about a program to find homes for the retired dogs in 1996 after watching a late-night TV replay of the dayâ€™s races. While she was still in the process of adopting a greyhound, she recalled, her mother swooped in and claimed Harley, a dog she loved so much that, at the time of Carlaâ€™s death, her e-mail user name was still mom2harley.
The service will begin at 1 p.m. but those assisting with table and chair arrangements and buffet preparation are asked to arrive at noon. The community center is located across from the town beach off Boston Neck Road (Rt. 1A.)