Leona Agnes Benson

Date of Birth

September 2, 1923

Date of Death

November 8, 2011

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Born 9/2/1923, died 11/8/2011 at 88 years of age in Santa Barbara. Leona was born in San Francisco to parents Fred and Edna Asmussen. Leona’s sister and brother-in-law are Audrey and Dean Oyer of Sun City, AZ.

She is pre-deceased by her brother and sister-in-law Bill and Hazel Asmussen.

Leona is also pre-deceased by her first husband, Jim Lindsay and second husband, Paul Benson. Leona’s children are Sandra O’Meara (Dan) of Summerland, Ken Lindsay (Patti) of Aptos, and Michael Benson of Ridgecrest.

Leona’s grandchildren are Allysha, Megan, Matthew and Kari and she has a great-grandson Connar.She also had step-children Susan, Steve, Doug, and Don. Leona was a 5th generation Californian tracing her lineage on her mother’s side to an Italian sailor Nicholas Dodero who was granted an original land grant from the Viceroy of Mexico – Tres Ojos de Agua in Santa Cruz in 1846. On her fathers’ side Leona’s family can be traced back to Denmark. Her father, Fred Asmussen recalled the story of coming west on a buckboard from Nebraska to Grass Valley, CA.

Leona grew up in San Francisco. She had many good memories of her family home on Laguna Honda Blvd., China Town, cable cars and street cars, and riding horses in Golden Gate Park. She had fond memories of going to the beach in Santa Cruz.

Leona attended college as a History major and was planning to become a teacher. She left school a few units short of graduating to go to work during World War II in an aircraft factory as a quality control inspector. She married Jim Lindsay in 1943. When the war ended, Leona and Jim settled in a new home in Pleasant Hill, CA. After Sandra and Ken were born she began working at Bank of America. Leona rose from bank teller to operations manager to branch manager over her 31 years of employment with Bank of America.

Leona divorced Jim and then married Paul Benson in 1957. Son, Michael was born in 1958. Leona and her family moved to Redwood City, Santa Clara, and San Jose. Later she and Paul moved to Clear Lake CA, Ridgecrest CA and in 2008 after Paul’s death Leona moved to Santa Barbara. She resided at Buena Vista Care Center. For many years Leona was an active member of the Order of Eastern Star, in the Lake Chapter which met at the Clearlake-Callayomi Masonic Center. Leona had many interests including sewing – making many beautiful dresses, gardening – enjoying planting snapdragons, petunias and many other colorful flowers, cooking – including pot roasts with gravy, reading – including mystery novels, watching TV and movies, boating, swimming and waterskiing while on vacations at the lake.

Leona always stayed close to her sister Audrey (Tootsie) with letters and cards. Leona called herself a “dog-person” as she enjoyed her poodle Nikki, many other larger dogs, and her last dog, Simba, a Pomeranian. Leona stayed current with the news and we have wonderful memories of long discussions about world affairs and events. Leona was a lovely person with a gentle soul.

Throughout her life she was hard-working and also caring and considerate. She will be dearly missed by her family and friends. May she rest in peace.

Special THANK YOU to the caring staff at Buena Vista Care Center, especially Lucy, Fely and many others. Leona had a wonderful friend at Buena Vista, Connie Roman, who will miss her.Services to be held on Saturday November 19, 2011 at 11AM at Welch-Ryce-Haider in Santa Barbara with the Reverend Jonathan Mulford officiating.


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