Juanita Belle (Van Ronk) Benson


Posted: Friday, March 29, 2002

Juanita Belle (Van Ronk) Benson died Thursday, March 21, 2002, at South Peninsula Hospital. She was 73.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. April 5 at First Missionary Baptist Church in Seldovia with the Rev. Clint Buck presiding. Per Benson's wishes, she was cremated and her ashes will be scattered in the mountains above Seldovia among fields of flowers.

Ms. Benson was born Oct. 7, 1929, in Pismo Beach, Calif. She grew up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains around Mt. Lassen, Calif. Her parents owned Lassen View Lodge in the 1930s and 1940s. As a girl she enjoyed riding her horses.

She moved to Seldovia in 1972, where she enjoyed her children and grandchildren, picking blueberries, gardening and watching baseball (especially the Atlanta Braves). She was always feeding the birds, pheasants and stray kitties. Ms. Benson loved her kitties. For years she made beautiful guardian angel ornaments, Eskimo ornaments and kayakers that she taught two of her daughters to make. She gathered flowers and plants from the forest floor to make her famous potpourri. Benson also enjoyed her church and Bible study.

She is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Chris and Tata Wheeler of Seldovia; five daughters and sons-in-laws, Cassie and Steve Chmielowiec of Anchor Point, Barbara and Joe Carlough Sr. of Seldovia, Toni and Wayne Barrowcliff of Homer, Cherie Jo Kuehn of Wasilla and Betty Jo Cotter of Sacramento, Calif.; grandchildren and spouses, Laura Wheeler of Seldovia, Tisha Wheeler of South Africa, Wesley Wheeler and Daisy Wheeler of California, Darrell Wheeler of Seldovia, Jess Cooley of Soldotna, Sean and Judy King of Anchorage, Autumn Barrowcliff of Homer, Athena and Dave Edens of Homer, Luke and Jason Carlough of Kenai, Christy Carlough of Wasilla and Courtney, Heather, Baily and Christian Cotter of Sacramento; great-grandchildren Landen Joseph Carlough (Dewitt) of Kenai; Gavin Shaleen Elvsaas of Seldovia and Brian and Hunter Edens of Homer.

Arrangements were by made Peninsula Memorial Chapel.

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