Following her departure from the USDA’s Southern Regional Research Center in
1989, Ruth Benerito taught Chemistry at the University of New Orleans,
before macular degeneration forced her into permanent retirement aged 84.
Her home of 56 years was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and she spent the
last years of her life in Metairie, Louisiana.
Among the honours she received were the Federal Woman Award in 1968; the
Garvan Medal from the American Chemical Society in 1970; and the
Lemelson-Mit Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. She was inducted into the
National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2008.
Ruth Benerito was quick to play down her scientific contribution, citing the
research that had preceded hers, and the properties of cotton itself.
“Nature made cotton pretty good to begin with,” she insisted. “I just gave
it a little boost.”
Her husband, Frank Benerito, whom she married in 1950, died in 1970.
Ruth Benerito, born January 22 1916, died October 5 2013
Ruth Benerito – Telegraph.co.uk