Hurricane Katrina

Lukey Benigno, 82, Bay St. Louis

Lukey Benigno was nothing if not a devoted family man for all of his 82 years. The "baby" among seven siblings, he actively participated in the care of his brothers and sister, particularly in their later years. But his love was his wife of nearly 51 years, Gloria, daughters Aleana Waite and Teri Lucas, his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"He never lived anywhere but Bay St. Louis," Lucas said, "except when he went to college (Millsaps) and was in the Navy." And his 37 years with the U.S. Postal Service all were spent in Bay St. Louis.

On his own time, though, "he took such pleasure in gardening and in distributing the vegetables he grew," Lucas said. "He shared his summer tomato crop with the men who poured the concrete for our house (next door)."

Open heart surgery 10 years ago converted him to regular exercise, and neighbors say they'll always remember him striding Felicity Street, pith helmet on his head, swinging his hand weights.

"And every Saturday evening, he went to Mass at Our Lady of the Gulf (Catholic Church)," Lucas said. "But he'd go early to scout out who had raked oak leaves and put them out in the neighborhood --- so he could go back next day and get them for mulch."

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