Monica Conter Benning, age 97, of Fort Myers, FL, passed away July 22, 2012 at Hope Hospice. She was the daughter of August E. Conter, M.D., and Mary Ann (Mamie) Conter of Apalachicola, FL.
She graduated from St. Patrick's High School in Apalachicola at age 16, and received her R.N. degree at Providence Hospital in Mobile, AL, in 1939. In 1940, Monica joined the Army Nurse Corps as a 2nd Lt., was assigned to Walter Reed General Hospital, Washington, D.C., where she became the official model for the Red Cross Army Nurse Corps recruiting program. In July, 1941, she was deployed to Hawaii and on November 15 was one of six nurses assigned to the new Hickam Field 30 bed hospital, where on December 7 she was one of two nurses on duty when the Japanese attacked. There is a monument beside the hospital dedicated to Monica. The famous book Day of Infamy by Walter Lord begins: "Monica Conter, a young Army nurse….."
She has been on PBS, the History Channel, three major news networks, in numerous books, and was guest speaker over the years in various parts of the country. She was a member of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association. In December, 2006 Monica was guest speaker at the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association's National convention held in Hawaii.
Monica's loving husband of 63 years, Bernard F. Benning (Barney), Lt. Col. USAR, retired corporate executive of Graybar Electric Co. preceded her in death in 2005. Bernard was also a Pearl Harbor survivor and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington DC with full military honors. She is survived by her children, Joseph Phillip (Carol) Benning, Veronica Benning and Gregory C. Benning, all of Fort Myers, FL, her granddaughters, Melanie and Lauren.
Services celebrating Monica's life will be at The Palms of Fort Myers Chapel, 2674 Winkler Ave., Fort Myers, FL, with Pastor Robert Williams officiating, on Monday, July 30,2012 at 1:00PM. Reception will follow at the Palms.
Catholic service and Interment will be at the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA with military honors.
The family would like to thank Hope Hospice for their wonderful care and support. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions to Hope Hospice: 9470 Health Park Circle, Fort Myers, FL 33908.
Friends may sign the guest book at www.horizonfunerals.com.