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Strawberry Socials

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 and Bishop Moore High School 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 at St. James Cathedral.

Artist Arline Conoley Benedetti, mother of six, worked as a visual merchandizer for Florida Hospital for over 15 years and 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 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 neighborhood ministry, raising ten thousand dollars with ten super sales, helped many people in the 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.” She credits her success to the many parents who worked with her.

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. Her father, Scott F. Conoley, was Head Sanitarian for the City Health Department and the first City of Orlando employee to achieve 40 years of service. Her grandfather, William John Conoley, was active in civic life and served as treasurer of the Democratic Executive Committee of Orange County in the 1930’s.

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 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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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.

Arline & Vincent Benedetti Celebrate 50 Years of Marriage

Arline and Vincent Benedetti  at their 50th Wedding Anniversary party at the Grand Floridian  Hotel  in  Orlando on August 20, 1994.

The Benedetti's and Father Page at Saint James Cathedral

Photo of longtime St. James parishioners,  Vincent and Arline  Benedetti, with Father David Page, Pastor of St. James Cathedral in downtown ...

Democratic Executive Committee Letter

October 11th, 1932 letter from W.J. Conoley, treasurer of the Democratic Executive Committee of Orange County, FL shared by his granddaughte...

Cherry Plaza Hotel Orlando

Front of postcard showing Lake Eola Centennial fountain and Cherry Plaza Hotel.

Cherry Plaza Hotel at Lake Eola

Postcard, circa 1960, of the Cherry Plaza Hotel at Lake Eola.

Scott F. Conoley Achieves 40 Years of Service

Scott F. Conoley was the first City of Orlando employee to achieve 40 years of service. Mayor Bob Carr honors Conoley with a...

Scott F. Conoley Receives City's Thanks for 40 Years of Service

Scott F. Conoley was the first City of Orlando employee to achieve 40 years of service. He started with the city in...

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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St. James School Gala Event of the Year!

 

Commemorative Booklet for the St. James School Gala Event of the Year! Scholarship Dinner - Dance, Friday November 5, 1976 at the Carlton House Resort Hotel, 6515 International Drive. Includes letter from the Pastor of St. James Church, Father David Page, outlining the purpose of the event is to provide scholarships funds for students, an "investment in the youth" of our community. A history of St. James School, "St. James School: The Past" begins on page 8. Jack Hardin, General Manager of the Carlton House Resort Hotel gave all the facilities of the hotel for the event at no cost. Arline Benedetti did the banquet decorating. Scholarship donors and patrons are listed by name including many area businesses such as the George Stuart Foundation, Southern Fruit Distributors, Inc. Blue Bird Brand Citrus Products. Last page of the booklet gives a history of George Stuart, Inc. with a photo of George L. Stuart, Sr. September 4, 1905 - January 11, 1976. Photos of school staff and scholarship committee begins on page 10.     

 


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