Evie Bennett was born near Knoxville, TN, the daughter of Charles and Emma Hodges. Her family moved from Tennessee to California in 1929, settling in Rubidoux, near Riverside. She loved to play baseball as a young girl, much to the horror of her Grandfather Hodges, who was a Baptist Minister. She also enjoyed playing organ in her church, and loved nothing more than listening to her favorite hymns.
She and Bob Bennett were married January 26, 1942, and together they raised a family of four children. Bob's quiet nature meant that Evie was the disciplinarian of the household.
Evie worked as a telephone operator for Pacific Bell during WWII, and spoke with a unique accent that sounded like a combination of the Tennessee drawl of her parents and a 1930's Hollywood actress like Mae West.
Bakersfield was always Bob and Evie's home base, but Bob's career in the oil industry meant they moved frequently and had the opportunity to live around the world, including the Canary Islands, Iran, and Libya. After fleeing Iran at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution in 1978/1979, Evie was asked if she'd consider another foreign assignment. She said she would "as long as they're not shooting at me!".
Evie enjoyed horseback riding, reading, and was a lifelong Dodger fan. She kept a beautiful garden, often with roses, wherever she lived. She always put out bird feeders and loved to bird watch.
After losing her son Richard to an accident in 1965, Evie comforted herself with the following poem, and sent a copy to her parents, telling them in a letter: "Here is a copy of the poem that means so very much to me. I have read it many times and although I know every word by heart, I will continue reading it in the days, months, and years to come. Keep it always because it is so beautiful. It will become more so each time you read it".
TO WHOM SHALL WE GO?
"To whom shall we go when the dark shadows gather,
and storm clouds of sorrow hang low;
With death swiftly striking the fairest and dearest,
the hour of our anguish, to whom shall we go?"
"To whom shall we go, can we find other refuge?
When trials distress us and sin would defeat,
Is there yet safer hiding than that which He gives us,
When alone in the stillness, we kneel at His feet?"
"There is One who will comfort, for He carried thy sorrows,
One who waits at this moment, thy burden to bear,
It is Jesus, go seek Him alone in the stillness,
Go, child, in thy weakness, He waits for thee there."
"For He whom thou loves will never forsake thee,
He is faithful that promised, He hears every prayer,
In the secret place hiding, 'neath his shadow abiding,
Alone, in the stillness, he will answer thee there."
Ultimately Evie became the primary caretaker for her parents, her inlaws, Bob's Aunt Edna Schmidt, and finally her beloved husband. She devoted a large portion of her life unselfishly to the care of loved ones. She was one of the most compassionate people you'd ever hope to meet.
A smoker most of her life, Evie died of ovarian cancer. She is missed by a large number of friends and her family.
Robert Warren Bennett
1921–1999 (m. 1942)
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