Obituary: Phyllis Case Bennett
Artist, teacher, her family were early Claremont residents
Phyllis Case Bennett, who would have been 90 this Sunday, June 18, died after a very brief illness during Covid on February 15, 2021. “We miss her very much,” her family shared.
Phyllis was born June 18, 1933, and lived her entire life in Claremont and Pomona. Her Case family grandparents came to Claremont from Ohio in the 1890s and early 1900s. They were shopkeepers and home builders. Her father Harvey rose to captain in the Claremont Police Department before becoming chief in San Dimas.
The Case, St. Clair and Blaisdell families were deeply intertwined in Claremont life. She worked for her St. Clair cousins Don and Gene at their Claremont family medical practice. She was a lifelong artist with an undergraduate degree in fine art and art history from UC Santa Barbara, where she met her husband, Bob Bennett, who predeceased her. They had no children and shared a good life in Claremont and Pomona, enjoying travel and friends.
Her great aunt and great uncle were well known sculptors and painters in Los Angeles and New York. Her grandmother offered up the small studio behind her house on West Sixth Street in Claremont to artists studying or teaching at Pomona College and the Claremont Colleges, including Millard Sheets and Milford Zornes.
Following her retirement she taught in local adult art programs. Her specialty was Chinese brush painting, often conducted outdoors at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (now California Botanic Garden) or the slopes of Mt. Baldy. When world famous brush artist Ning Yeh moved from Claremont, he asked her to take over his classes. She led one of the first American adult student groups admitted to mainland China and took students to programs at the China Academy of Fine Art in Hangzhou for many years.