In Memory of

Benita Claire Wandell

January 2, 1927–August 12, 2020

Photo of Benita Claire Wandell

About Benita Claire Wandell

Benita Claire Wandell passed away peacefully on Wednesday, August 12, 2020 in Salem, Oregon at the age of 93.

Benita was born on January 2, 1927 in San Francisco, California and raised in Coos County, Oregon. Benita and her younger sister, Donna Jean were very close. Their mother, Hazel Claire Phillips divorced and later married William Arden Floyd who became Benita and Donna’s “Daddy.” Hazel and Arden’s family grew with the addition of a son, William Arden Jr. and daughter, Alberta Janette (Dette).

Benita was a teenager in Myrtle Point, Oregon during World War II. After the war, she married Walter Lewis Van Ness. They were married about 9 years before they divorced, but she continued her friendship with Walt’s mother and sister and was beloved Auntie Ben to Walt’s nieces Margaret, Marian (Susie), and Brenda and their families throughout the rest of her life.

In 1959, Benita married Donald Earl Wandell who had two sons, Charles (Skip) and Robert (Bob), whom Benita raised as her own. A year later Benita gave birth to daughter, Mary. Don and Benita settled in Hayward, California to raise Bob, Skip and Mary.

Benita was a homemaker and periodically worked in retail. She enjoyed sewing clothes for Mary and wild colored surfer shorts for Bob. When Mary was 9 years old, Don traded carpentry work for a mare and colt which began many years of Don, Benita and Mary raising and riding horses.

Benita made friends easily wherever she lived and worked. She kept close ties with relatives and when Don and Benita retired to Myrtle Point, Oregon in 1984, Benita reconnected with friends she knew in elementary and high school.

Benita is survived by her sister Alberta Jeanette Kincheloe and spouse, her sons Charles Edwin Wandell and spouse, Robert Eugene Wandell and spouse, and daughter Mary Diane Wandell, 11 grandchildren, 36 great grandchildren and 4 great, great grandchildren.

Benita was preceded in death by her husband Donald Earl Wandell, “Mother” Hazel Claire Floyd, “Daddy” William Arden Floyd, sister Donna Jean Taylor, brother William Arden Floyd Jr., and step-sisters Ilene Iverson, and Eleanor Ragland.

Benita loved her family and had friendships that lasted throughout her life. She will be greatly missed.