Mildred Lygardis Bennett

Mildren Lygardis Bennett passed away in her home on Feb. 2 at the age of 92.

Millie was born in Caseyville, Ill., on June 12, 1920. She grew up in Oklahoma. As a teenager she traveled throughout the country with her sister and future sister-in-law as part of The Gospel Trio.

During World War II, Millie worked as a “Rosie the Riveter,” She spend several years moving from state to state working as a telephone operator. While living in Colorado in 1957, she completed cosmetology school and bought the first of seven beauty shops. She moved to Inyokern in the early 1960s and opened Mildred’s Beauty Salon. She worked as a beauty operator for 37 years. Always a savvy businesswoman, she and her husband Frank also owned a laundromat and liquor store in Inyokern for many years.

Following the passing of her sister and best friend, Opal, Millie purchased Opal’s home and finally retired at the age of 75. She always spoke fondly of her working days and often said she just might open up another shop one day. She was feisty and cantankerous, and her family often joked that it was a good thing she was cute. But the truth is she was very loved and the memory of her mischievous laughter will always bring a smile to her family as they remember her as a woman who lived a joyful life.

Mildred was preceded in death by her mother, Effie Patterson; father, Homer Patterson; stepmother, Mary Elizabeth Patterson; sisters, Opal Shaver, Riley Mann and Jouree Williams; and her husband Frank Bennett. She is survived by her niece Cecelia and husband Herb Wilkerson of Leesburg, Fla.,; great-nephew Darrin and wife Kellee Clodt and family of Ridgecrest; and great-niece Stacy and husband Rick Bullard and family of Sugar Hill, Ga.

She also leaves behind her beloved brother Marion “Pat” and wife Elena Patterson and family of Carson, Wash. and numerous other nieces and nephews. In keeping with Millie’s wishes, there will be no service.

Submitted by the family of Millie Bennett

Story First Published: 2013-02-20