Most famous for her invention of wrinkle-free cotton fabric, she is remembered for patenting numerous chloride processes for the production of wash-and-wear cotton-based products.
After earning her bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry from Tulane University, she received her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago and began her lengthy career at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Southern Regional Research Center.
Her numerous honors include the American Chemical Society's 1972 Southwest Regional Award; the 2002 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award; and a 2008 induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
Born Ruth Mary Rogan, she spent her early years in New Orleans, Louisiana. In the early 1950s, she married Frank Benerito.
A century and a half after Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, Benerito resurrected the steadily diminishing cotton industry by creating a process for the production of wash-and-wear cotton fabrics.