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A Pearl Harbor Volunteer Remembers

Pearl Harbor Volunteer Vincent Benedetti recalls coming to Orlando from Banana River Naval Air Station as a sailor on liberty during WWII.  10,000 soldiers were in Orlando at the time. Fourth generation Floridian Arline Conoley Benedetti, shares how she met her future husband Vincent Benedetti at a dance here in Orlando in this excerpt from an oral history interview with Mr. and Mrs. Benedetti at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, September 4, 2011.

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Arline Conoley and Vincent Benedetti

Pearl Harbor Volunteer Vincent Benedetti recalls coming to Orlando from Banana River Naval Air Station as a sailor on liberty during WWII....

The Benedetti's, Saint James Cathedral

September 4th, 2011 photo of Vincent and Arline Benedetti at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.

The Benedetti's, Saint James Cathedral

September 4th, 2011 photo of Vincent and Arline Benedetti at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando.

The Benedetti's, St. James Cathedral

Pearl Harbor Volunteer Vincent Benedetti recalls coming to Orlando from Banana River Naval Air Station as a sailor on liberty during WWII. 10,000 soldiers were in Orlando at the time. Fourth generation Floridian Arline Conoley Benedetti, shares how she met her future husband Vincent Benedetti at a dance here in Orlando in this excerpt from an oral history interview with Mr. and Mrs. Benedetti at Saint James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, September 4, 2011.




Arline Conoley Benedetti and the Art of Community

Picking strawberries in Plant City for charity comes natural to fourth generation Floridian Arline Conoley Benedetti. Her uncle, citrus grower E.B. Conoley, and now his son have been donating their oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit for the Citrus Bowl Parade for years. 

 

While her husband, Vincent Benedetti, might joke that Arline ate more strawberries than she picked, the ever popular Strawberry Socials at St. James Cathedral were great fundraisers for the church and school. The chance to make your own strawberry shortcake with fresh picked Plant City strawberries  delighted generations of parishioners. 

Artist Arline Conoley Benedetti, mother of six, has spent a lifetime contributing her time and talents to the Orlando community planning church socials, creating crafts to raise money for ministries, and decorating charity galas for church and school benefits. 

One of her fondest memories was when she was chosen to stage the gathering of 999 clergy at the Cherry Plaza just after the Orlando Diocese was created in 1968. 

Her fundraising for St. James Neighborhood Ministry, raising ten thousand dollars with ten super sales, helped many people in the Orlando area, and earned her a position on the board of Bishop Moore High School. But, as she humbly shares, "I wasn't that kind of fundraiser." 

Her connection to our community spans generations as noted by local history buffs. Her great grandmother was killed by an Indian at Fort Gatlin during the Seminole Indian War in 1838. Her maternal grandparents were "real pioneer types", the Hannigan Patrick's from the Orlo Vista area, who owned a lot of territory west of Orange Avenue. Her paternal grandparents were citrus growers in the Conway area. In addition to his work as a food inspector, her father, W.J. Conoley, was active in civic life and served on the Democratic Executive Committee of Orange County. 

From pancake breakfasts to school committees, Arline and her husband WWII veteran Vincent Benedetti, have enjoyed generously contributing to our community through activities at St. James Cathedral in downtown Orlando as they share in this excerpt (8:46) from an oral history interview at St. James Cathedral on September 4, 2011. 

 

When asked what role has St. James Cathedral played in your life? Arline responds, "It's kept us honest."

 




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