Freda Nellie Stahl Benedict
The Lompoc Valley said goodbye to another native daughter on April 20, 2012.
Freda (Teeda) Nellie Stahl Benedict, 95, was born on March 27, 1917, to Albert Stahl and Charlotte Reed Stahl Cowan in the Reed Ranch house in Miguelito Canyon. It was the same house where Freda’s mother was born.
Freda is the fourth generation of both the John Reed and Daniel Truitt Pioneer families and grew up on the Reed Ranch. In her youth she loved to run on the deer trails in the hills and play in the creek with her two sisters and her many cousins. She also worked on the ranch hoeing beans and herding sheep. Early on she developed a great love of all animals starting with those in the barn yard. She was especially fond of chickens and found them greatly amusing.
She attended the local schools and graduated from Lompoc High School in 1935. Freda loved Lompoc and she was proud of the fact that she was a part of Lompoc’s Pioneer history. She was a member of the Lompoc Valley Historical Society and a past member of the Half Century Club. She was a Red Cross Volunteer and worked at the Convalescent Care Center for many years. She also worked for the Unified School District in the Payroll Department.
In the 1940’s Freda met her second husband Benny while working at Johns-Mansville. Together they bought an old Army barrack at Camp Cooke and used the lumber to build a home in the mouth of Miguelito Canyon on property that was part of the Reed Ranch. It was there that she and Benny raised their family and built a life together.
Freda loved spending time at home, puttering around in the yard and tending to her orchard and boysenberry vines. She made good use of the bounty that her fruit trees and berry vines provided. She made great pies and the best lemon/orange ice tea this side of the Santa Ynez River. She loved soaking in her hot spa and using her computer to keep in touch with family and friends. But her greatest joy by far was her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She loved them with all her heart and to her they could do no wrong. Much to her grandchildren’s delight, she loved to make “pink-toe sandwiches” by putting the souls of their little feet together and nibbling on their toes.
Freda had a quick wit and a great sense of humor and always loved a good joke. She was really fun to be around. She took good care of herself and always looked nice even when she wasn’t going out on the town. She was charming and loving and she had the most beautiful hands. She loved all things that sparkled, whether it was beautiful jewelry or sunlight on the ocean. During the summer months when the kids were out of school she and Benny would pack up their camp trailer and head for Gaviota Beach where she would sunbath while Benny fished. She also loved taking road trips and always kept a daily diary about each trip that she took.
Her favorite trips were driving up Highway 1 along the rugged northern coast line to visit her son Steven and family. She loved looking at the ocean along the way knowing a dinner of freshly gathered mussels awaited her.
Freda was preceded in death by her first husband Orville Vandeventer and her second husband Benny Benedict. Also preceding her are her parents, a sister Shirley Stahl Merino, her brother-in-law Bill Pendley, a stepfather Clarence Cowan, her beloved son Loren Vandeventer and her lifelong friend and pen-pal Violet Stradiotto.
She is survived by a daughter Lynn Benedict Romine of Lompoc, a son Steven Benedict (Judi) of Sea Ranch, California, two grandsons, Ricky Waibel of Merritt Island, Florida, Loren Benedict of Santa Rosa, California, a granddaughter Trinity O’Connell (Damon) of Austin, Texas, one great grandson Chandler O’Connell and one great granddaughter Olivia O’Connell both of Austin. She also leaves behind her step-daughter JoAnn Hunt of Garden Grove, California, her sister Wanda Pendley of Lompoc, her cousins Betty Reed Elms of Yakima, Washington, Leonard Reed, H.O. Reed and Stella Reed of Lompoc, Lynda Reed Williams-Terres (Al) of Goleta, Ted Brock of Richmond, Kentucky, and five nephews.
Miguelito Canyon held a special place in Freda’s heart. It was where she was born, where she grew up and where she died. It was in the shadow of the Miguelito hills where she experienced her deepest despair and her greatest joys. Her memory will always be alive there.
Her family wishes to sincerely thank Vicky and Carol at Marion Hospice for their loving and compassionate care of Mom. They are truly Angels of mercy. Also to her doctors for their dedication and care; Brian Taber, Bindu Kamal and Thomas Lossing. A special thank you to Lyn Scott for all the love and care that you gave to Mom.
The memorial service will be on Saturday, April 28, 2012, at 1pm in the chapel of the Starbuck-Lind Mortuary. The private interment will be in the Lompoc Evergreen Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers the family respectfully requests donations to be made to the Lompoc Valley Historical Society, P.O. Box 88, Lompoc, CA 93438.
“This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” - John Muir