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Marjorie Lou (Benedict) Romo

Marjorie Lou (Benedict) Romo

June 12, 1939 -
February 7, 2014

After a lifetime of commanding presence, steadfast opinions, and a lively spirit, Marjorie Lou Romo passed from this life calmly during the night of February 7th, 2014 with her two loving daughters, Lisa and Jill, by her side. It was noted that unofficially, she actually passed away a few minutes earlier, on Ronald Reagan's birthday, which was no doubt her choice of a final fitting statement. Her last meal happened to be a favorite (meatloaf) and her very last conversations included her beloved grandchildren, Sam and Ruby, whom she adored. Although Marti was somewhere around life number 8 since going into a hospital over 30 years before with serious breathing issues, she had always rebounded with the attitude of a prizefighter that just lasted 12 rounds, and a renewed love for life. Last Thursday, at the age of 74, she finally succumbed to the overwhelming reality of advanced lung disease that even Marti could not fight off. Marti was born June 12, 1939 in Rapid City, South Dakota to Fern Abbott Benedict and Francis Marion Benedict and later spent much of her childhood in Yakima Washington with her five lively siblings, Francis, Carol, Dixie, Sherry, and Darrell, who were always a big part of her life. Marti attended St. Joseph's Academy and then Yakima High, graduating in 1957. Shortly thereafter, she moved to Los Angeles, happily welcoming her sisters Dixie and then Sherry to the region. Among her first jobs were as a caregiver in West Covina, then at the stock exchange in downtown LA with Crowell Weeden, and eventually working at the American Institute of Architecture, where she recalled meeting the California version of royalty, the Annenbergs, all the while avoiding LA freeways, a bona fide matter of anxiety. She also made good friends along the way, including Evelyn Gay and Jan Owen. In 1960, Marti married Daniel Romo, starting a family of her own with the birth of Lisa in 1961, and then Jill in 1964, living then in Huntington Beach during the heyday of Surf City USA. After her divorce in 1968, Marti continued her career working with various doctors in Orange County and especially enjoyed working in offices where she could be near the newborn babies. Marti was always about being "part of the action", whether it was going to the courthouse to see the OJ trial for herself or the occasional visit to Las Vegas with her good friend Joanne Saks. Although she always wanted in on the next great adventure, (and in later years, physical issues kept her from participating in most activities involving walking or travel), one event that she could not miss under any circumstance was a rowdy game of poker with her nephew Jeff West, and she truly looked forward to any opportunity to visit him on those occasions. Marti was political by nature and frequently "discussed" her opinions to her sons-in-law, or anyone else who cared build a bonfire with her. In spite of everyone loudly talking over each other, there was always discussion of having the Marti Radio Show some day - a good idea that never came to pass. She also enjoyed sports tremendously and spent many hours listening to sports radio, especially baseball. She also listened to talk radio, including the guilty pleasure of her long-time favorite, Howard Stern. She was a go-to resource on all things relating to current news events and various facts, no doubt skilled she honed from her favorite shows, 60 Minutes and Jeopardy. She was a true fan of current and past celebrity, and fondly recalled a short chat with the "Duke" at a bar in Newport Beach. Marti also loved animals, and especially doted on the dogs who became good companions in her life, Sox, and Mitzi. Mitzi suffered separation anxieties and often accompanied Marti to work. More than anything else, Marti was about her family, even though she sometimes had controversial ways of expressing that, and was not always one for grace. Marti always said what was on her mind, and her mind was always full of opinions, often brilliantly humorous, sometimes not so appreciated. But mostly she wanted to be where her family was, even when she physically could not be. Her daughters, grandkids, siblings, extended family and friends were the world to her, whether she was up for a brawl or a laugh. She attended many of her grandchildren's games in suffering heat and freezing cold, going to their concerts, birthday parties at the pier, and even made fairly good attempts at keeping the guppies alive in her Newport Beach house pond because they liked to see the fish. Marti is survived by her daughters, Lisa Grnja (and spouse Janko), and Jill Wheeler (and spouse Tom) both of Palos Verdes Estates; grandchildren, Samuel and Ruby Wheeler; brother, Francis Benedickt (and spouse Angie) of Reno Nevada; sisters, Carol West (and spouse Roy) of Sparks Nevada, and Dixie Moore (and spouse Tom) of Malibu; and brother, Darrell Benedict of Fernley Nevada. Marti was predeceased by her beloved sister Sherry Benedict, of Puyallup Washington, who died in 2007. After her daughters moved on to their own families, Marti lived somewhat quietly in Lake Forest, then moving to Newport Beach, then to a Torrance house, and finally at the Canterbury, where she had made some good new friends like Dorothy and Belle, just like she did when she first moved to Los Angeles. Marti will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her. She has a strong soul that will always be "part of the action", and she has no doubt found her way there, even if she couldn't take the freeway. Please sign the guestbook at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.

Published in Daily Breeze on Feb. 16, 2014
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