Anita was born and raised in Bremerton, Washington. She began attending Evangel Temple Assembly of God church when she was 9 years old. When she came to the church in 1950, there were two ladies working there who would have a profound positive influence on her life. Bessie Guy and Dorothy Amundsen, were working in the Bremerton church as "City Missionaries". They assisted the church in many ways. Dorothy was the music, and choir director. Until Anita was 13 years old, Dorothy was a MAJOR mentor in her life.
In 1954 Miss Amundsen and Miss Guy left the Bremerton
church and took on a ministry assignment in California. By 1960,
when Anita Benskin graduated from Bremerton High School, Miss Amundsen
and Miss Guy were on staff at Northwest College. That fall, Anita enrolled as a
freshman. She attended from 1960-1962, and then took a break in
her education until January of 1964. In 1966 Anita graduated with
a BS in Music and Christian Education. Throughout her college
years she was an integral part of the Concert Choir under the direction
of her mentor, Dorothy Amundsen. She played both Piano and Organ,
at different times, for the choir, and was also a singer. In 1965
she traveled with the Gospel Lites Trio (Carolyn DeGroot, Judi Larson,
& Sharon Cook) as
their pianist. (Click the link to hear Anita play a piano solo of
"Nothing But The Blood
from the Gospel Lites 1965 album). During her senior year she was
the pianist for the Harbor-lites Trio (Sue Fusch, Lois Nyman &
Linda Smith), and traveled with
them the summer following her graduation.
In the fall of 1966 Anita accepted a job with Northwest Alum Jed Minton at the Assembly of God Church in Canby, OR where she worked as a kindergarten teacher for one school year. In June of 1967 she returned to live in Bremerton. For 3 years, she commuted to Seattle where she worked in a secretarial job and then was married in 1970. She was married for 7 years, and had two young daughters when she was divorced in 1977.
HarborLites Trio singing Everywhere He Went Gospellites Trio singing My Friend and I