Jamie Forrest Raney
Jamie Forrest Raney, 67, of Los Olivos, passed away on November 12, 2019, following a valiant two-year battle with Leukemia and a brief stay in hospice care at Serenity House. Jamie was born in Queens, New York, on April 8, 1952 to Lester Forrest and Phyllis (Joffe) Forrest.
Jamie’s family moved to California in October 1962, when her father took a job with Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo. Jamie attended Ulysses S. Grant High School in Van Nuys, graduating in 1970. A highly motivated student, she always had a fascination for civil law. She often stated that early in high school, she knew she wanted to be an attorney. After high school, Jamie attended college at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she met her first husband, and lifelong friend, Donald Raney, and his young son, Erik Raney.
Jamie received her Bachelor of Arts degree summa cum laude from UCSB in 1974 and her law degree from UCLA in 1979. While in law school, Jamie took a one-year clerkship with Chief Judge Thomas Edward Fairchild of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, Illinois. Returning to Los Angeles for her final year at UCLA, Jamie interviewed for an associate attorney position in a relatively-new law firm in Santa Barbara. Jamie joined that firm in 1980 and was named partner in 1984. Throughout her legal career, Jamie was proud to be a partner with the Santa Barbara law firm of Fell, Marking, Abkin, Montgomery, Granet & Raney, LLP for over three decades.
Jamie had two loves, her family and the law. Her love of family was born from her own childhood. She cherished the memories of family summer vacations spent in a cabin on the lakes in Mammoth, fishing and playing cards. Jamie was born from tradition, but eager for new adventure. She was as willing to take on a ferocious legal battle as she was willing to tackle the beginner ski slopes or learn to dance the two-step. She was a tenacious reader and always had a science fiction novel on the nightstand. She was a scholar of the English language and the origins of words. Family game nights included Boggle, Scrabble, and other word games. Her traditional side made her a collector of beautiful things, such as perfume bottles and clay cookie molds to name a few. In 1995, Jamie met Bruce Bennett. They later married, and in 2015, moved to Los Olivos.
During her nearly 40-year career, Jamie focused almost exclusively on family law matters, particularly those involving complex business and tax issues. As an attorney, Jamie was a creative problem-solver with a focus on the fair, ethical and (when possible) cooperative application of the law. She was a passionate advocate; always poised, focused, and kind. Jamie was able to help so many in our community through personal crisis.
Jamie was one of the first female partners in a law firm in Santa Barbara. She had an unparalleled work ethic and was, by all accounts, a trail blazer and role model for countless younger female attorneys, both in and out of the courtroom. Yet, she never considered herself as such. Short in stature, she was huge in personality and treated everyone she met with respect.
Jamie was a Founding Director of the Santa Barbara Women Lawyers organization in 1988, and she was President of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association in 1996. She served on the State Bar of California Family Law Committee, and she also acted as Chair of the Family Law Section of the Santa Barbara County Bar Association for many years. Jamie believed that access to legal assistance was important for the community and was a strong advocate of the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County.
Since Jamie’s passing, the Santa Barbara legal community has shown a tremendous outpouring of love and support for her colleagues and family. Jamie was one-of-a-kind, with a discerning intellect and a unique concern for others. She will be deeply missed by all who had the pleasure of working with her.
Jamie Forrest Raney was preceded in death by her mother, Phyllis (Joffe) Forrest, and her Uncle Charles Joffe. Jamie’s father, Lester Forrest, died at age 94 from age-related illness, just two short weeks after Jamie. Jamie is survived by her husband, Bruce Bennett; her son Erik Raney and daughter-in-law Natalie (Mermis) Raney, and her three grandchildren, Jackson, Aleksander, and Eloise; her step-daughters Kelly Tait and Shelly Brooks; her brother Terry Forrest and sister-in-law Stacy (Jordan) Forrest, and nieces Hannah, Kerrin, and Chassa, and nephew Kyle; her brother Michael Forrest and sister-in-law Joey (Whang) Forrest; her sister-in-law Laurie Bennett, and niece Lyndsay and nephew Keegan; her lifelong family friend Bert Terreri; her Uncle Marty Gordon and wife Marie and Uncle Steve Gordon and wife Andrea.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County. Visit www.lafsbc.org and click on “donate.” Donations can be made in the name of Jamie Raney – in memoriam.
A Celebration of Life event for Jamie will be held on Saturday, February 1, 2020, from 1-4 pm at the Rockwood Women’s Club on Mission Canyon Road. It will be a very casual event in an “open house” format. Please RSVP to the Fell Marking law firm at 805-963-0755 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.