Fredda Hanson Benefield
December 4, 1930 – November 18, 2021
Fredda Hanson Stewart Marino Benefield
Birmingham native Fredda Hanson Benefield, 90, a long-time fixture of the city’s cultural arts scene and a life-long member of the Episcopal Church, died November 18 at home surrounded by her beloved family.
She was daughter of the late Frederick and Ruth Callahan Hanson. She graduated from Ramsey High School and later studied speech and drama at Birmingham-Southern College.
After her marriage in 1953 to attorney Charles A. “Chuck” Stewart, Jr., Fredda spent 12 years with the Town and Gown Theatre, acting with her husband in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and solo in James Lee’s Career, among other plays. She also was instrumental in the production side of the organization. Along the way she served as chairman of the Birmingham Festival of Arts and spearheaded the return of the International Fair portion of the event. She also was a member of the board of trustees for the Women’s Committee, Alabama Symphony Orchestra and was publicity chair for the Elegant Event, a fundraiser for the Birmingham Museum of Art.
While raising a family during the 1960’s, she hosted a popular children’s show on Alabama Public Television.
Fredda later married Alabama Symphony Conductor Amerigo Marino, with whom she shared a love of all things musical. In later years, she met and married well-known Birmingham accountant Joseph Benefield, with whom she traveled the world.
She is survived by a son, Charles A. “Chuck” Stewart III, and his wife, Ann Shashy Stewart of Montgomery, and by a daughter, Jaclyn Stewart Vann, and her husband, William Oliver Vann, Jr. of the city; four grandchildren: Nancy Stewart Litwak, Katherine Ann Stewart, Fredda Claire Cardwell, and Henry Joseph Cardwell, and two great-grandchildren. A grandson, Charles A. “Chuck” Stewart IV, preceded her in death.
The Rev. Rich Webster will conduct a memorial service at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church Monday December 6, at 11 a.m. The family will receive visitors one hour prior to the service.
A lover of books, movies, music, travel, and animals, Fredda always put her family first.
Memorials may be made to: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 3736 Montrose Rd., Birmingham AL 35213, the Alabama Symphony, 3621 Sixth Ave. S., Birmingham AL 35222 or the Parkinson’s Foundation of Alabama @parkinsonalabama.com.
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances… William Shakespeare