Marlborough – Deta (Christo) Benway, 95, a lifelong resident of Marlborough, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Sheila and James Phillipo Jr. She was surrounded by her loving family as she was reunited with her husband, Harold Benway Sr., who predeceased her by just three short mo
Harold and Deta shared a great love that overcame cultural and social customs of the time to join this Albanian Greek Orthodox girl with her true love, a French Catholic, and spanned more than 70 wonderful years of marriage.
In addition to her daughter and son-in-law, she is survived by her son, Harold Benway Jr. and his wife, Linda; six grandchildren, James Phillipo III, Jay Benway, Matthew Phillipo, Daniel Benway, Jennifer Cotter, and Farrah Phillipo; and 14 great-grandchildren.
The daughter of the late Louis and Jennie Christo, she was born on French Hill in Marlborough, and into the small Albanian community of Metrowest. Her father, a baker, fell ill when Deta was a teenager. She left school to care for him and keep an eye on her three siblings while her mother worked at the local shoe factory. After her father passed away, Deta took a job at the Koehler Manufacturing Company where she met her husband Harold. Following their marriage in 1941, Harold and Deta moved around the country to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. and Atlanta, Georgia, finally returning to settle in Marlborough in the late 1950s in what is believed to be the old Mitchell/Pleasant Street School.
Wherever she went, Deta was a born saleswoman, selling everything from jewelry in New York to women's clothing locally at the former Village Sportmaker, Charlton's and Riseberg's. She was a savvy and independent woman ahead of her time. In 1968, she followed her entrepreneurial spirit and opened her own clothing boutique, Kris-Dee-Modes, which catered to the working woman. According to Deta, she “offered the professional women of Marlborough a selection of styles that followed both the latest trends and timeless classics and all at a moderate price point.” Kris-Dee-Modes was a successful local business for more than 20 years, started by one of the first female entrepreneurs of Marlborough.
When she wasn’t tending to her shop, she was either driving her convertible with the wind in her hair, in the kitchen cooking a delicious meal, or spending time with loved ones and friends, laughing, and swimming at her favorite spot, next to her most cherished possession, her pool.
Deta was bestowed with a generous and joyous heart. Music, laughter and love could always be found at the Benway home where the door was always open to family and guests.
Private funeral services were held Aug. 18.
Donations may be made to Our Father's Table, OFT Inc., PO Box 916, Marlborough, MA 01752, a local organization that provides meals three times a week for the homeless and needy in the region.