Joellen “Jill” Anderson Wendte
Beloved friend, wife, mother, and “grams” Joellen “Jill” Anderson Wendte passed peacefully on Friday January 5, 2018 at 6:15 PM in Montecito, California. Born in San Diego, California on January 26, 1924 to Albert John and Josephine (née Bower) Anderson, Jill’s early years were spent surrounded by horses, sheep, cats, and dogs on a family ranch in Alpine, California. A love of animal companions would be a constant throughout her life. Some of her favorite childhood memories were train trips to Tijuana with her adored father to watch horse races and the time she spent horseback riding.
Jill graduated from the prestigious Westlake School for Girls (now known as Harvard-Westlake School) in Los Angeles before attending USC and Stanford. In the midst of the Second World War, Jill was working as a model in New York City when she met Army Air Corps Captain Howard “Randy” Randlett Morse, Jr., of West Hartford, Connecticut. The two were married on October 7, 1944 at the historic Saint Thomas Church on 53rd Street and 5th Avenue in New York City. This union produced Jill’s son, Randy, and her first daughter, Danyel. They made their home in Los Angeles. Jill married her second husband, Hal Osbborn, on July 15, 1955 and out of this marriage would come her third child, Debbi.
On October 31, 1976, Jill married the love of her life, Earl Wendte. The two lived in Santa Barbara, California, where Jill could be close to her family and many friends. She had an incredible ability to quickly turn a stranger into a friend. Jill enjoyed travel, whether it was a drive up to the “lake” or heading out on one of her many sea cruises. Jill had a personal mantra: “Lucky to be me.” She would frequently play her luck in gambling of all sorts. Jill held shares in race horses and, well into her later years, she would put money on weekly football games with just about anyone who would take the bet.
She was also one to buck the odds and beat the spread. In May 1997, Jill was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. To the astonishment of many in the medical community, she not only lived another twenty years but did so without chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
Always up for life, on her eightieth birthday Jill bungee jumped off the top of the tower at Circus Circus in Las Vegas. To commemorate the experience, Jill had “business” cards made with the moniker “Bungy Jill” and was consistently thrilled to share the YouTube video of the “jump.”
Until her last days, Jill remained quick with a laugh, sharp in wit, and full of acceptance.
Jill is survived by her son William “Randy” Randlett Morse of South Lake Tahoe, CA, daughters Danyel Morse Dean and her husband Peter Castellanos of Santa Barbara, and Debbi (née Osbborn) Pearson of Santa Barbara; grandchildren Jordan benShea of Santa Barbara and Adam benShea and his wife Lisa Hill benShea of Santa Barbara.
In addition to her husband Earl, Jill was predeceased by her brother William “Bill” Bower Anderson.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the VIN Foundation (vinfoundation.org/give/) as a means to honor Jill’s lifelong affection for her many pets.