In Memory of Ingrid Bengis-Palei

We lost a dear friend. Edible Island's Founder, Ingrid Bengis-Palei passed away at home with family Thursday morning, July 13th.

Ingrid instilled in all of us an uncompromising vision, exacting standards, and a deep respect for and commitment to her community.

A memorial and celebration of her life will be announced at some point in the near future.

Ingrid Bengis-Palei, 72, died peacefully Thursday, July 13, 2017 at her home at Oceanville Road in Stonington, Maine, after a two-year battle with cancer. Ingrid was born August 14, 1944, in New York, the daughter of Leonid and Maria Bengis.

Ingrid Bengis was recognized as a talented and influential author, with a unique voice and presence. She received her degree from Columbia University in English and Comparative Literature. Her debut novel Combat in the Erogenous Zone was published in 1972 by Knopf and nominated for the National Book Award. Passionate about writing and meticulous about observation and detail, Ingrid devoted years to working on each of her books, which also included the novels I Have Come Here To Be Alone (Simon & Ingrid Schuster, 1976) and Metro Stop Dostoevsky (FSG, 2003). She was an extraordinary woman, who was published by and featured on the pages of the New York Times, Shakespeare And Co and others.

She also created and ran a seafood business (Ingrid Bengis Seafood, based in Stonington, Maine) for almost 30 years purveying to the most celebrated chefs in the country, including Thomas Keller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Dan Barber among others.

Dividing her time for years between New York City, Maine, and Saint-Petersburg, Russia, she has been a Fulbright scholar, a university professor at St. Petersburg State University, a writer, an educator, and creator of the

Island Culinary and Ecological Center. She loved Stonington and worked very closely with the community to make sure the fishermen have a future. She was a very special person in so many ways.

She met her future husband, Edouard Palei in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1998. They were happily married for 19 years.

Ingrid lived her life with passion for what she believed in, frequently taking risks that would have stopped others. She has always been deeply committed to places and people. Many of the friendships she forged on the Island have lasted for decades. Even when she became very sick she never let her own pain shut out her empathy for others or dampen her commitment to the island projects she had started. She didn’t believe in the lines between the fishing community and people “from away.” She believed that every story that brought someone here to live and share in this unique corner of Maine is what makes the Island magical and strong.

Ingrid was a loving mother and mentor to younger generations. She loved her local community and always wanted to come back to Stonington even when she was very sick during her chemotherapy. She will be deeply missed.

Ingrid is survived by her husband, Edouard; son, Paul; daughter-in-law Olga; two grandchildren, Mark and Stefan.

Private services and burial were held at Stonington Mount Rest Cemetery.


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Tel : 207-367-5888

Edible Island Culinary and Ecological Center offers unique culinary experiences, as well as educational opportunities for local students, community members, farmers, chefs, and other food professionals. 

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