PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Laurel Ann (Benham) Scialabba, 71, died unexpectedly June 19, 2018, at Berkshire Medical Center after a short illness.
She was born in Pittsfield on February 9, 1947, to C. Ann (Hollenbeck) Benham and the late Paul L. Benham. She attended Notre Dame Grammar and Middle School. A 1964 graduate of St. Joseph High School, she then received an associate in arts degree from Berkshire Community College in 1966 and a Certificate in Project Management from Boston University in 2000.
She began a career in banking at the First Agricultural National Bank in 1966, continuing it at Connecticut Bank & Trust in Hartford, when the family moved to Connecticut in 1971. In 1980 her banking supervisory experience brought her to Aetna Health Plans, where she managed a complex Claim Accounting and Banking Unit. Her Aetna career progressed to increasingly more technical claim management positions ending as an Information Systems National Project Manager with retirement in 2005.
Always community minded, Laurel was active in several appointed and elected positions over the 35 years living in Newington, Conn. That spirit continued when she and her husband, Richard, moved to Hinsdale, Mass., after retirement. She was a 12-year member (eight as chairperson) of the Hinsdale Conservation Commission, served two years on the Finance Committee and was recently re-elected to a second three-year term on the town’s Select Board, where she was its chairperson.
Family was extremely important to Laurel, whether raising her son, watching her grandchildren grow, family gatherings/picnics or friendly gatherings she always thoroughly enjoyed every minute of time with others. But her favorite without doubt would have to be those 10 trips to Disney World, especially the last three trips with her three grandchildren.
Laurel also enjoyed reading, attending baseball games and golf tournaments, attending her grandchildren’s sports and school events and after retirement spending each February/March in Florida away from our cold Berkshire winters. She was a fan of the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots and previously a season ticket holder of the Hartford Whalers.
Laurel is survived by her husband of 50 years, Richard; her son, Steven Scialabba and his wife, Denise; grandchildren Ryan, Ali and Taylor Scialabba, all of Cheshire, Conn.; her mother, Catherine Ann Benham of Pittsfield; brothers Christopher Benham and his wife, Karen, of Pittsfield, Mark Benham and his wife, Pam, of Newmarket, N.H., and sister, Karen Benham-Hagmaier and her husband, David, of North Las Vegas, Nev.; sister-in-law Lorraine Saulnier of North Adams; brother-in-law James Scialabba of Adams; sister-in-law Sheila Coughlin and her husband, Peter, of Pittsfield; as well as several aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
She was predeceased by her father, Paul L. Benham; brother, Barry A. Benham; nephew, Jared Benham; and brother-in-law, Robert Saulnier.
The family wishes to recognize the staff from the Berkshire Medical Center Telemetry and CCU units for their excellent care and handling of a very difficult situation. Also, special thanks to Drs. Steven Alsdorf, Henry Rose, Kristen Currie and Twinkle Chandak for many years of dedication to working with Laurel on her very complex medical issues. The family appreciates all your efforts.
Funeral notice: Funeral services for Laurel Scialabba will be held Saturday, June 23, 2018, at 8:15 a.m. from Dery-Foley Funeral Home, with a Liturgy of Christian Burial at 9 a.m. at St. Agnes Church, celebrated by Rev. Christopher Malatesta, Pastor. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery in Pittsfield.
Calling hours will be held, Friday, June 22, 2018, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Dery-Foley Funeral Home in Dalton. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to The American Kidney Foundation in care of the funeral home, 890 Main Street, Dalton, MA 01226.