Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 26, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page A:3

Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 26, 2022 



Benn Devereaux Martin of Sierra Madre, CA passed 
away at home on Tuesday March 1, 2022, at the age 
of 88. 

An only child, Benn was born to Emma Florence 
(Brookes) Martin and Devereaux Martin on September 
28, 1933 in Damariscotta, Maine. Benn spent his 
childhood and youth in New England and New Jersey. 
He developed a love for music early in his life 
and learned to play the trumpet at age seven. His love 
of music continued, and he became the number one 
trumpet player in the band at Bucknell University, 
where he first attended college, and decided to major 
in music. When he transferred to University of 
Michigan, where he continued playing trumpet in the 
marching band, he decided to change his major and 
ended up earning two Bachelor of Science degrees - 
one in Math and one in Engineering Mechanics. After graduation, in the summer of 1957, Benn 
bought a brand new Chevy convertible and drove to California where an adventurous career with 
Jet Propulsion Laboratories awaited. 

Benn started at JPL as a Research Engineer in the Telecommunications Division and over the 
years, moved into various supervisory roles in divisions across JPL. Some of the divisions were 
Data and Modulation Systems, Bioscience R/AD Program, Astrionics Division, Biomedical Program, 
and the Systems Division. During his last years at JPL, he was in charge of the Earth Observing 
Systems Program, which included multiple satellite projects. One exciting adventure was collaborating 
with Japan’s NASDA program, with their similar earth observing technology projects. 
His technical breadth and capability were impressive but even more so, was the way he mentored 
and advocated for other employees at JPL. The people were always most important to Benn. He 
retired in 2000 after an amazing and dedicated 43-year career. This was the only professional job 
he ever held. 

With his first wife, Ellen, Benn had three children -Kelli, Russ and Jeff. In 1980, Benn met “the 
love of his life” (as he would say), Judy Webb, who had two children of her own - Darrin and Laurie. 
They married in 1987, and blended into one big family. For a loving, devoted father such as 
Benn, there was no such thing as stepchild, as he cared for all five children as his own. His legacy is 
proven in the devotion and respect all the kids have for their dad. Their family also includes eight 
grandchildren - Cami, Taylor, Megan, Shane, Blade, Vivi, Dylan, and Benn. He was thrilled when 
Laurie and Chad named their youngest son after him. 

At the beginning of his retirement in 2000, he built an addition to their June Lake cabin. He always 
said, “Home is where the heart is but I keep my soul at the cabin (Ca-Benn). Benn and Judy tried 
to get to the cabin at least once a month, where they had many fun times with family and friends. 
They enjoyed fishing, boating, hiking, sight-seeing, playing board games, enjoying their hot tub, 
but most of all -skiing. The whole family loved skiing together. Benn taught all five children to ski 
at a very early age. 

Benn worked hard but he knew how to have fun. He loved dirt biking with the kids, taking road 
trips on the motorcycle, camping, water skiing, and traveling the world with Judy where they met 
many friends from Alaska to Africa to Australia. On their first anniversary, Benn surprised Judy 
with a trip to Alaska. He had always dreamed of going to Alaska, and that was the first of many 
future trips. 

He was a good friend to all and a teacher of work and life skills to many. He enjoyed his full life in 
Sierra Madre with many joyous community celebrations from Boot Scootin’, Wine Tasting, Concerts 
in the Park, the Sierra Madre 4th of July festivities, to playing Santa Claus for the children at 
Kersting Court. 

We each try and write the best life story we can, and Benn’s was an epic, multi-chapter adventure 
full of love, family and friends. He always told the best stories and made the best drinks at parties. 
He was so loved and respected by all who met him. He is dearly missed. 

A Celebration of Life will be held on June 11, 2022. In lieu of flowers, please donate in honor of 
Benn’s life to support student scholarships at the California Institute of Technology. Memorial gifts 
can be made online at or mailed to 1200 E. California Blvd., MC 5-32, Pasadena, CA 


TUESDAY - SATURDAY 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM 
SUNDAY 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM 

SIERRA MADRE, CA 91024(626) 355-5153 


by Deanne Davis 


“How does the tendril sense a post is near? How does it 
know to wrap clockwise?
A plant knows more than we…and we can even see!
We close our eyes, we’re lost – we’ll run into the post!” 
Steven Shoemaker 

Weeping Wistaria“Lavender locks spill from the sky. In bloom, wistaria 
curls cry.
Sweet nectar tears fall. Purple peapods sprawl.
Bright bees crawl and lick them dry.” 

“Wistaria…this violet vision carries me to a magical 

So many folks have waxed poetic about the wisteria. 
There are countless word images available…and they 
haven’t even seen Sierra Madre’s legendary, world-famous 
vine! Everywhere you look around town, if you 
look hard enough, you see wistaria (the Sierra Madre 
spelling…the rest of the world spells it ‘wisteria’ but 
what do they know!) peeking out here and there. It seems that it always blooms the most spectacularly 
after the Festival but we know it will be incredible. Keep an eye peeled for those lovely 
purple blossoms. 

I’ve been hanging onto the most wonderful article on wisteria, which ran in the Star News in 
2015. Joshua Siskin, who has a fabulous website entitled “The Smarter Gardener” gave me permission 
to use his work and I quote: 

“It has been several weeks since wisteria stopped blooming but still I think of it. Its curtains 
of opulent lavender-violet flower clusters are hard to forget. All year long, except for a single 
brief moment in late winter and early spring, wisteria is a vine that shows nothing of ornamental 
interest. It does serve a utilitarian purpose in covering an arbor and thus provides shade 
for those strolling or dining al fresco. But without its flowers, wisteria would probably not be 
planted much, it at all. 

I think that people, too, have this wisteria-like quality. We might go for months living a drab, 
humdrum sort of existence until we suddenly flower brilliantly for a brief, yet memorable moment. 
Indeed, most of the time we do our jobs well and provide assistance and sustenance for 
others. Yet, how often do we bloom, giving something that, coming from our best and truest 
self, delights and inspires the world around us? Long ago in Lithuania, there was a rabbi named 
Yisrael Salenter who said that “the greatest distance in the universe is the distance between 
your head and your heart.” When our noblest and most idealistic aspirations, those that we 
carry around in our minds, somehow reach our hearts, that is when we truly blossom.” 

No wonder I keep it in my calendar for March. Speaking of noblest and most idealistic aspirations, 
I read this quote from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, from a video address 
he gave recently, where he hailed those who have fought back against Russia: “There is no need 
to organize resistance,” he said. “Resistance for Ukrainians is part of their souls.” 

Anyway, the Sierra Madre Wistaria Festival is this Sunday. There will be food, music, shops, 
crafters, local restaurants will be serving their finest fare, auto shows and just simply walking 
around and looking at all the goodies is such a good time. The weather should be nice and I’m 
predicting a lot of fun.
In case you didn’t know, in 1894, the owner of the house at Hermosa Ave¬nue and Carter Street 
bought a 75-cent wistaria plant that provided quite a return on the initial invest¬ment.
The plant blossomed into a city institution that raised money for World War I, the city’s volunteer 
fire department and the mortgage of the first Women’s Club building, according to local 
historian Phyllis Chapman. In the past, the canopy covered two acres, bloomed into over a 
mil¬lion flowers and made it into Guin¬ness World Records for being the world’s largest blossoming 
plant. “When you hit it right, the fra¬grance hits you a block away,” Chap¬man said. 
We celebrated the first day of Spring last Saturday and everywhere I look buds are forming on 
trees, plants, cactus and waiting to explode into glorious color and extravagant beauty. It’s getting 
warmer, the days are staying light longer and we will be enjoying the outdoors more and 
more. The picture today is of vibrant purple flowers on a cactus hidden behind a wall.
“In the Spring I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.” Mark Twain”
The day the Lord created Hope was probably the same day he created Spring.” Bern WilliamsDon’t you love the design by Sierra Madrean, Greg Dohlen, for our 2023 Rose Parade float. 
This is going to be absolutely adorable, featuring bears, trees and our park. Great job, Greg, I’m 
already envisioning another win for Sierra Madre!
Rejoice dear friends, it’s Spring! Look for flowers, look for hummingbirds, look for amazing 
sunrises and sunsets. 
One last thought: If you want people to listen to you, you must listen to them. 

My book page: Deanne DavisEaster is just a few weeks away and “The Crown” my story about what happened tothat infamous crown of thorns is now a real book in addition to a Kindle. 
It’s available on and it’s only $3.99If you want to check it out, here’s the link where you can see a short video: 


The friends of the Sierra Madre Library are looking forward to the April Best Used Book Sale 
to be held on Friday, April 1 (3:00-7:00 p.m.) and Saturday, April 2 (10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.). The 
sale will be held on the parking lot behind the library at 440 West Sierra Madre Blvd. Masks 
are strongly recommended. 

Featured this time will be everything CRAFTY! Look for books about quilting, drawing, 
painting and more. Journals for writing or note-taking will be available as well as some torn 
vintage books with beautiful illustrations suitable for projects. There also will be a number 
of “Table Books” on Art, Cooking, Gardening, Contemporary Culture and many volumes of 
newer fiction from $2.00-$12.00. 

As always, we’ll have our “Bargain Book” boxes with titles only $1.00 each. Children’s/Teen 
books are priced $.25-$1.00 and small paperbacks 5/$1.00. DVDs and CDs are $1.00 each and 
Audio Books $2.00. 

Don’t forget the popular $5.00 BAG SALE on Saturday only! Fill a large grocery bag with selections 
for only $5.00. Proceeds from this sale are used solely for the programs, services and 
acquisitions of the Sierra Madre Public Library. Come and join the Friends as we celebrate 
Spring with wonderful books! 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 
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