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Helen Y. Bench Preston

1924 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Helen Y. Bench Preston Obituary

Helen Yvonne Bench was born in La Grande, Oregon on November 9, 1924 to parents LaFaun and Charles Bench. LaFaun, Charles, Helen and her brother Kermit settled down in Pasadena, California where Helen attended local schools, and was a fashion model in her teen years. Helen married Ted Dale Preston in 1943 in Glendale California, and over the next twenty years, their family grew to include six children - Sharon Lefler, Melanie Hackler, Janis Morse, Valerie Preston, Thomas Preston, and Charles Preston. As the family grew, Helen and Ted relocated several times in California, and the family also lived in New Jersey for 10 years in the 50’s and 60’s.

Helen was widowed in 1980. During that time, she worked as a retail clerk, and continued to raise her family. Helen also cared for her mother LaFaun in her advancing years, and was a long-time breast cancer survivor - for more than 20 years. She was also a pioneer in advancing the Avastin treatments for macular degeneration, as one of the first patients to receive the treatment – which was a great success, maintaining Helen’s vision throughout her lifetime.

When Helen was in her 70’s, she was re-introduced to her 8th grade sweetheart, Corky Kirk, and they rekindled their friendship. They traveled across the country and through Europe together for about 15 years – fulfilling Helen’s dreams of visiting far-away places.

Helen is remembered and treasured for her adventurous spirit, her curiosity about science and nature, her genuine way of making everyone feel loved and special, and especially her innate sense of humor. Always eager to learn new things, Helen’s inquisitive spirit charmed everyone she met. Helen also loved meeting new people and making dear lifelong friends.

She was an amazing role model for her family, being observant and sensitive to the needs and wants of others. Helen was kind and compassionate, and taught her children how to be conscientious, mindful citizens in our world. Each member of her family has hundreds of funny and touching stories to tell about her loving nature, and how she is revered as having shown them how to find the best in everyone and everything.

Helen has been blessed with 14 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren as well. Each person in Helen’s life is an extension of her beautiful spirit. She will be missed very much by all of us, but never forgotten! A video celebration of her life is available on YouTube, search Helen Y. Preston.
Published in San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Jan. 5, 2018
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