Age 86, of Santa Rosa, CA, left this earth on January 1, 2018 due to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma diagnosed mid-November. Born March 4, 1931 in Allentown, PA to loving parents Edna and William Willistein, she graduated from Allentown H.S., enlisted in the Women’s Air Force Jan. 15, 1951, & stationed after basic training in TX at bases in PA; Tokyo; CO; Germany; and at Hamilton A.B., CA. Married and honorably discharged from the WAFs in 1959, she later divorced; there were no children.
After college classes & massage work, she became an occupational therapist in Santa Clara Co.’s program for special ed. & handicapped children for 30 years, also joining the Sisters of Notre Dame for 3 years. She played sports in high school & in the WAFs, and was a big fan of the S.F. 49ers & Joe Montana.
After retirement, she and her partner Henri Bensussen moved to Ft. Bragg, CA, where she drew up plans for the renovation of the old house they bought, made many friends, was a regular at Redwood Health Club and Pacific Phys. Therapy, & volunteered at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. They moved to Santa Rosa in 2016, finding new friends at Brookdale Paulin Creek.
Pre-deceased by her parents and older brother Bill and his first wife Greta, she remained close to Greta’s family and to Bill’s widow Virginia, and to friends going back to grammar school. We extend special thanks to Heartland Hospice, Kaiser Hosp., and the staff at Summerfield Healthcare Ctr for their care & support. Life celebrations will be held in Santa Rosa, and on the Mendocino Coast; email Henri at firstname.lastname@example.org for info.