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Irene M. Gardiner Benson, 87, of Billings, passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010, at St. Vincent's Hospital.

Irene was born April 13, 1923, to Edward and Clara (Lynch) Gardiner in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, Canada. She was raised in Kalispell and graduated from Flathead County High School in 1942. Irene married William R. Benson on May 26, 1948, in Great Falls, and were married 50 years.

One of Irene's joys in life was working in her garden; she loved her roses and African violets. She also liked to crochet, sew, and be with her family and when Bill retired they enjoyed traveling together. She was also a member of the Zelda Rebekah Lodge.

Irene was preceded in death by her parents; siblings, John Dolan, Myrtle Dolan Paulding, Mildred Dolan Roberts, Earl Gardiner and Ruth Gardiner Buck; and her loving husband Bill.

Irene is survived by three sons and their families; Mike and Maxine and granddaughter Shannon (Scott) Schandelson and great-grandsons Alex and Aidan, Steve and Karen and grandchildren Jennifer, Chris (Brittney), John and Kathy, Ron and Susie and grandson David (Cara) and great-grandson Trueston, grandson Eric and great-grandson Wally.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 3, at Faith Chapel, 517 Shiloh Road. Smith Downtown Chapel is assisting with arrangements.

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