Anne Bendann

Anne Bendann

Anne D. Bendann, a retired interior designer and community volunteer who was active in women's issues and church affairs, died Jan. 4 from pancreatic cancer at her Homeland residence. She was 65.

The former Anne Duffy, the daughter of an investment banker and a homemaker, was born and raised in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

After graduating in 1965 from the Beaumont School in Cleveland, she earned a degree from Marymount College in Arlington, Va., where she studied art and design.

Ms. Bendann, who worked for more than three decades as an interior designer, began her career at Darr-Luck Associates in Washington's Georgetown neighborhood.

She later worked in Baltimore for Michael Asner & Associates and Innerspace, and from 1983 until retiring in 1997, she was with Swann Hall Associates.

"Anne was just tremendously talented and had a way with color and patterns," said Michael R. Hall, a principal in Swann Hall Associates. "It just came naturally to her, and she could generate many good ideas. She had a great personality and was a joy to be around. I've missed her every day since she retired."

"After she retired from her professional career, Anne found time to dedicate her energies to her community and her own personal growth. The past 13 years were transforming on both fronts," said her husband of 38 years, Lance Bendann, who owns Bendann Art Galleries in Lutherville.

Ms. Bendann was a strong advocate for women's issues.

"She wasn't a big committee person or fundraiser; she preferred hands-on work, getting down and involved quite literally on the street level," her husband said.

Ms. Bendann volunteered at the Safe House of Hope in Southwest Baltimore, where she supported women "who were caught in various cycles of poverty, addiction and prostitution," her husband said.

"She was a great volunteer here. She volunteered her time working with women who were exploited by sex trafficking and prostitution. Many of our clients are homeless," said Denene M. Yates, executive director of the Safe House of Hope.

"She got churches and people together and coordinated our donations to help our clients, whether it was clothing, furniture or hygienic products," said Ms. Yates. "She made sure our closets were always full."

Friends and family brought bags and boxes of clothes weekly that they deposited on the front porch of her Tunbridge Road home. They spilled over into her home and filled her garage and car, which she named "Sophie."

"I used to tease Anne by telling her that the Homeland Neighborhood Association had cited us for operating a Goodwill drop-off center in the neighborhood," Mr. Bendann said.

Another interest, which earned her a position on the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force last year, was the issue of human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking and the plight of immigrants caught in the grip of prostitution.

She served as a member of the task force Compassionate Brigade.

"Whenever someone who had been [a victim of] sex trafficking had to go to court against a perpetrator, Anne would go with them to support them and shield them from threatening looks and glances," Ms. Yates said.

Ms. Bendann had also been a longtime volunteer with the Maryland School for the Blind and was a volunteer reader for the Radio Reading Network.

Throughout her life, Ms. Bendann was a woman of deep faith who supported ordination of women in the Roman Catholic Church. "She never felt that this position was in conflict with her own participation in the Catholic Church," her husband said. "She had great faith, but that did not eliminate the need for a change, in her view."

Ms. Bendann was greatly influenced by the work of Sister Joan Chittister, a member of the Order of St. Benedict who is considered a visionary voice and advocate for equality and justice in the Roman Catholic Church.