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Bernice Mable Benak

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“I grew up across the street behind Diane and when we were little Berenice would let me spend the night and I would stay up most of the night watching...Read More »
1 of 6 | Posted by: Kathy Loewen - Pomona, CA

“I so wished I had gotten to know her more. I did so enjoy are chance meetings in the laundry. I so loved her spirit. I too will miss your lil...Read More »
2 of 6 | Posted by: Vera Broyles - Seal Beach, CA

“Diane, I'm sending you my deepest condolences as I know how extremely close you two were. I can't even begin to imagine what you're going through. ...Read More »
3 of 6 | Posted by: Silvia Mendoza - Anaheim, CA

“Bernice was always happy and knew how to have fun. She was a hard worker who was there to lend a hand whenever you needed one. I know she loved Diane...Read More »
4 of 6 | Posted by: Stacy Mcilveen - Placentia, CA

“DianeYou have become so many beautiful things...the highest and strongest ...being a Mom. You have honored your Mom and offered the most beautiful...Read More »
5 of 6 | Posted by: Pamela Blackshear Wilson - TX

“Sweet Diane, I remember your beautiful mother to be sincerely proud of you. I first met her in 1978 as we practiced often at your Long Beach home...Read More »
6 of 6 | Posted by: Gayla Thompson - Aliso viejo, CA


Bernice Benak, 96, of Seal Beach, CA passed away on June 29, 2017, her only child's birthday, surrounded by family and friends. She is survived by her daughter Diane, granddaughter Christie and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her seven siblings and her husband James Benak.

Born in Mora, Minnesota in 1921 to John and Jenny Sigstad on a 1,000-acre family farm, Bernice worked hard, waking up early every morning to do her farm chores, like milking the cows.

She came to California in her twenties where she met her husband James. They enjoyed dancing and you could find them at the Santa Anita or Hollywood Racetracks every weekend. They married years later and soon after, welcomed their daughter Diane—their miracle baby. Bernice and Diane were extremely close her whole life. One of Bernice's greatest joys was spending the last seven years with her granddaughter Christie, whom she adored.

Bernice was a wonderful woman with numerous endearing qualities. She had many close friends, most of whom she outlived. Extremely loyal, Bernice was always there, standing up for those who needed her. If someone she loved was ill or in the hospital, she visited daily, even after a long day's work.

Bernice was an extremely hard worker, often outperforming most of her male colleagues at Northrup Grumman, an aircraft manufacturer. She was a master seamstress and cake decorator. Perhaps her biggest feat was hand-making her daughter's spectacular wedding dress. And, everyone close to Bernice received an afghan or scarf that she crocheted or knitted.

Fiercely independent, Bernice always insisted on carrying her own bags and picking up the check. Up until the end, she lived independently and drove her own car. Even into her 90s, she frequently traveled to Las Vegas and Laughlin with her friends, some of whom were half her age.

Bernice had an infectious laugh and knew how to have fun. She played Bingo several times a week with her best friends Lucy and Pat. An avid Angels baseball fan, she rarely missed a game on TV and was able to attend the 2002 World Series to see them win the championship.

Although we miss her terribly, we take comfort in knowing that she is no longer in pain and she has been reunited with her husband and other loved ones in Heaven. We will carry Bernice in our hearts forever.