Roberta Mace Bennett passed peacefully, at the age of 95, in her room at The Covington assisted living, in Aliso Viejo, on Feb. 1, 2018.
She is survived by her daughter, Andrea Reynolds Bennett, and by her son, Duncan Griffin Bennett and his wife Suzanne Slyman. She was preceeded in death by her sisters, Katie Stalder of Riverside and Mary Stuart of Long Beach, and by her husband, A. Norman Bennett (d. 1959), and by her parents, Arthur Mace and Margaret Reynolds Mace.
Robbie was raised in Pasadena and graduated from Sacred Heart Academy and Pasadena Junior College. To the many friends of her youth, Robbie was faithful throughout her life. Summers were spent with them at Balboa Island, and with family at Big Bear Lake where her father built a cabin.
She and Norm were married in Cambridge, Mass., in 1945, where he was in naval supply school at Harvard before receiving orders for duty in the North Atlantic in WW II. Following the war, they made their home in Pasadena and raised their children. After Norm’s death of cancer in 1959, Robbie was a single mother until her children went to college. While Andrea was in high school, Robbie re-entered the working world as a secretary in the insurance business. She was working for Pacific Mutual Life Insurance in 1972 when the company relocated to Newport Beach, and she took the opportunity to move to Laguna Beach, the arts-oriented community she had long appreciated.
She enthusiastically began her new life, settling into her home at the Top of the World, building her garden with its view out into the open space canyons that she loved so much. She also loved her neighbors and the generations of kids she befriended in her 44 years there on Nestall Road. Her joy was enhanced by the dogs she had over the decades, especially her last one, Ringo.
Her love of nature and hiking made her an active participant in the Laguna Greenbelt movement and Sierra Club. However, her primary community in Laguna was St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, where she made her closest friends. She was active in church outreach programs, the Evening Guild (ECW), and the Vestry. In her later years, she organized weekly meals for the homeless and volunteered at Friendship Shelter.
As much as Robbie loved her friends and Laguna, she was constantly drawn to her world travels and hiking trips to the eastern Sierra Nevada. The international travel was a particular joy for her to plan and read for, whether it was England, China, hiking in the Pyrenees, or her beloved Tuscany – all beautifully documented by the albums of photos that she so loved to take.
A service and celebration of her very full life will be held on Saturday, March 10, at 1 p.m., at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 428 Park Ave., Laguna Beach. In lieu of flowers, it was Robbie’s wish that contributions be given to Friendship Shelter (www.friendshipshelter.org).
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