In Memory of



Obituary for Marilyn Benning

Marilyn Banks Benning was born in Chattanooga, TN on August 11, 1929 to the late Willie and Margaret Banks. Marilyn, or Big Mama, as she was affectionately known by her family, lived most of her life in Chattanooga.
Marilyn attended Howard High School. She was later employed at Sears & Roebuck, where she retired after 27 years. By her own admission, Marilyn was a woman of few words, but when she spoke, those around her listened. She spoke with wisdom and we all benefited from her advice.

Marilyn was a charter member of Shepherd’s Voice Christian Fellowship Church, where she faithfully served as a church mother, choir member, treasurer, and friend to many, including the beloved late pastor, Cedric Henson. Marilyn was constantly volunteering her services and the services of her family to help support the church and its many endeavors. She was always connecting people with the things that mattered most to her – family and Christ.

Of all the roles Marilyn took on, her most beloved was by far, mother and grandmother. Marilyn always got things done. She would do for you, until she couldn’t do anymore. Whether this meant preparing special dishes or just lending a listening ear to whomever needed one, she was always putting others before herself. Some of her children’s fondest memories are the times spent learning how to knit and crochet, playing games together and taking vacations to the beach. She lived life generously and gave willingly and freely of everything she had. It is this spirit, and her knack for making others feel special, appreciated, and supported, for which she was best known. To know her was to love her.
Marilyn went to rest on February 26, 2021 at age 91, still young at heart, having lived a long, full life and leaving behind a legacy of love and laughter to all of those who were blessed to know her.

Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Thomas Benning; son, Larry Benning; sister, Genevieve Pyant; brothers, Billy Banks, Rogers Banks; grandsons, Kevin Smith, Johnathan Thomas.

Survivors include her sons, Irvin (Norma) Banks, Cleveland, OH, Greg (Maria) Benning, Cypress, TX; daughters, Audrey Smith, Antioch, TN, Brenda Crowder, Chattanooga, TN, Loretta (Matt) Beasley, Acworth, GA, Sylvia Benning, Nashville, TN; sister, Elaine Johnson, Chattanooga, TN; dear niece, Janice Bivens, Chattanooga, TN; dear friends, Doris Lovelace, and Isabella Lane, Chattanooga, TN; 25 grandchildren, 41 great-grandchildren, 27 great-great-grandchildren, and a host of other relatives and friends.

Public viewing will be 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM Wednesday, March 10, 2021, followed by a 12:00 PM funeral service in the funeral home chapel. Interment: Chattanooga National Cemetery.

The funeral service will be broadcast live beginning at 12:000 pm Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at

Arrangements by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Avenue, 423-622-9995.