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Jeanne Roberta Boucher Bielefelt Benson

1921 - 2017

Jeanne grew up in a Vaudeville family. The act was named, "Can you Resista?" Resista, Jeanne's mother, would levitate on cue. They played Carnegie Hall and many other venues. No one else has duplicated "Resista's" ability, and she, passed on the family secret which remains safe to this day.

As a teen, she married Robert Bielefelt and soon Barbara and Bruce were born. That marriage disintegrated and Jean began a "Rosie the Riveter" position in wartime assembly at Douglas Aircraft. She was assigned to buck rivets inside wings and tail structures because she was small enough to fit inside. It was hideous work, akin to spending the workday inside a ringing church bell. The man she complained to about these awful work conditions, was her supervisor and soon to be second husband, Arthur Benson, they married and five years later, Leslie arrived, joining his older half siblings, Barbara and Bruce.

She was defined by her stunning energy, I.Q., curiosity and life-long work ethic, ending with a 17 year career working in the LA Department of Water and Power. Throughout her life, she designed and built 12 residences, graduated high school at 40 and College at 50. She always found time to play practical life simulation games, such as "store" and "garden with grandma" at our beloved mountain cabin with her grandchildren. Her walnut jello and crockpot meals were predictably tasty. Her decline most notably began in 2005, when concerned granddaughter, Kerstin, found her unconscious in her residence. Afterward, she lived with dementia for an additional 12 years. Caring for her with this disease was very difficult for her son and granddaughter, who knew how much she valued her independence. When mental clarity would come, she was unhappy, but when the mental fog returned, she was happy. In the end, pneumonia finally took her in spite of antibiotics. She always knew, loved and was loved by her family. She will be remembered for her meticulously hand-decorated Christmas pantsuits and spark-plug personality.

Among treasured memories were 1960, when the family Vacationed at the Santa Barbara beach. In 1990, she was along during a Hot air balloon crash landing. In 1992, By special invitation, she sat copilot in the Goodyear blimp and the pilot had her take it down 1000 feet. She pushed it into a 60 degree full speed crash dive alarming the passengers. She also wrote a Solar Power Report for LADWP that is valid even today. Her children were Barbara, Bruce and Leslie. She is survived by son Leslie, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren including Ari Raphael.

No services are planned. Donations to the Friendship Center (heidi@friendshipcenter.org) are welcome as they gave her stimulation and support for a number of years. SantaBarbara@home.com cooperative also helped. Finally, thanks to Kerstin for years of managing her health care.

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