Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch (1930 - 2017)

A photo of Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch
Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch
1930 - 2017
October 11, 1930
Seattle, King County, Washington United States
September 10, 2017
White Blossom Care Center in San Jose, Santa Clara County, California United States
Other Names
Joyce Vandever, Grandma Joyce, M. Joyce Vandever, Joyce Kroetch
Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch was born on October 11, 1930 in Seattle, Washington United States. Her maiden name is Benning and she married into the Kroetch family. She is the child of George Lawrence Benning and Eileen Constance (Tasker) Benning. According to her family tree, Marian was mother to 2 children. She married Frank Edward Kroetch on March 26, 1949 in Bellingham, Washington United States and they later divorced in July 1968 in Sandpoint, Idaho United States. They had children Pam (Kroetch) Marks and Kathleen Rae (Kroetch) Pinna. She married Jack Wendell Vandever in 1970 in Santa Cruz, California United States and they later divorced in 1974 in San Jose, California United States. She died on September 10, 2017 at White Blossom Care Center, San Jose, California United States at age 86. We know that Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch had been residing in Valley Village Retirement Center in Santa Clara, Santa Clara County, California United States.
Updated: April 20, 2022
Joyce Vandever (as she was known in her later years) was a loving mother of two daughters Kathy & Pam, and grandma to two grandchildren Daniel & Layne. Joyce had a half-sister, Lois (Benning) Ewen, the product of her father's first marriage. She also had a step-brother, Charles Henry Barrett Jr., from her mother's second marriage to Charles Henry "Heine" Barrett. She had many friends and relatives in California, Washington state, England and Wales. Her best childhood and lifelong closest friend was Beverly Clarice (Washington) Scoffone in Monte Sereno California. Joyce loved being a grandmother and spent countless weekends with her grandchildren. She lived in the California Hawaiian mobile home park at 3637 Snell Ave in San Jose for many years when it was an adult community. To hear Joyce describe herself see Joyce Vandever In Her Own Words
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Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch
Most commonly known as
Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch
Full name
Joyce Vandever, Grandma Joyce, M. Joyce Vandever, Joyce Kroetch
Other names or aliases
Valley Village Retirement Center in Santa Clara, Santa Clara County, California United States
Last known residence
Marian Kroetch was born on in Seattle, King County, Washington United States
Marian Kroetch died on at White Blossom Care Center in San Jose, Santa Clara County, California United States
Natural causes. Her dementia led to numerous falls which hurt her physically over her last decade. She eventually stopped eating and passed away.
Cause of death
October 2017
Ashes scattered in Half Moon Bay, California
Burial / Funeral

Ethnicity & Lineage

Caucasian: Primarily Welsh, German, and Dutch. Grandma was particularly partial to her Welsh/English roots having frequently visited from the States over her life. She introduced the tradition of attending the Scottish Highland games to her children and grandchildren - even though she had no Scottish ancestry, she was partial to Scotland (and Scottish men!).

Nationality & Locations

United States of America. Born in Seattle WA and raised in Portland OR and Bremerton Washington, she eventually settled in the California Bay Area. The last forty or so years she lived in San Jose California.


Grade school in Portland OR and Bremerton WA, Bremerton High School, and the University of Washington.


nominally Baptist


Was Marian baptized?


Grandma held various secretarial roles over the years. I remember in the early - mid 1990's I was always amazed at how fast she could type! I was confused at her high WPM as computers didn't exist when she was working full time. She had learned how to type (without typos!) on a manual typewriter. She worked both in Emergency Services ( County Communications on Communication Hill) in San Jose, California and at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center - an emergency hospital & clinic where she was secretary to the Director of Finance and to the Medical Director of Mental Health - and where both of her daughters ended up working for a number of years as well. Joyce was highly respected from the janitors to doctors and the board. A further note: When she was pregnant with me (her eldest), she worked at Gerber Foods, a local cannery, on the line. After I and my sister were born, she worked on the switchboard at San Jose Water Company. When we moved to Seattle for a few years, she worked as office help for a dentist and then when we moved back to Santa Clara County (Saratoga), she worked through Manpower, a temporary help agency. The majority of her professional life was spent in some capacity around the medical profession. When Joyce was in high school, she volunteered as a Candy Striper at a local hospital. To her great dismay, she was assigned a patient by room number and when she got to the room, she discovered that it was her father. She didn't even know that her father was ill - and that it was terminal. The experience haunted her during her entire life. The medical profession seems to be a generational theme running through her maternal line. Joyce's Welsh grandmother, when she didn't get along with her stepmother, moved as a teen to London and worked "with the Sisters". Her mother, in her later life, worked as a vocational nurse at a nursing home in Seattle, a hospital in Seward Alaska, a hospital in Redwood City CA, and as a caretaker in Mesa, AZ. So Joyce followed suit? Joyce's eldest worked in the Public Health Dept. out of college, and off and on at a local hospital. Her other daughter retired from the same hospital.

Personal Life

She was always a very social person who treated everyone equally with respect. I remember she would volunteer at the San Jose History museum, and was active at her senior mobile home community, Cal Hawaiian off Snell.

Military Service

Joyce was not part of the military but she was raised in Bremerton Washington which had a military base (naval). During World War 2 the military would often launch hundreds of blimps to protect from possible air bombings.

Average Age

Life Expectancy

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Recipe: Grandma Tasker's Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This recipe was given to Joyce by Mary Ann (Jones) Tasker. It's my mother's Kathleen Rae (Kroetch) Pinna favorite desert that she would eat on her birthdays. It's a spongy cake with some flavor because of the pineapple juice - not just a plain white cake. Topping: Melt 1/2 cup butter in a 8" - 9" iron skillet Add 1 cup brown sugar Put pineapple slices on top with cherries in the middle (usually about 7) Cake: Separate 2 eggs. Beat yolks, add 1 cup white sugar, 5 tablespoons pineapple juice Sift in 1 cup of flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder. Beat eggs whites to stiff peaks and fold into above mixture. Pour over topping. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes. Cool, then turn out on a plate.
Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna shared
on Dec 23, 2021 12:38 AM

Recipe: Grandma's Sticky Buns

These are delicious, rather simple to make, and are a holiday staple in my family. Take 24 bridgeport rolls and place the frozen rolls in a 9x13 butter greased pan in a single layer. Take 1 cube of melted butter and put to the side. Mix from 1 small package of non-instant butterscotch pudding, 1/2 cup of pudding, 1 teaspoon or so of cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of brown sugar, then sprinkle this mixture over the rolls. Now, take that 1 cube of melted butter and pour over it the rolls. Cover the pan with a light weight towel or foil loosely, and set out overnight on the counter. In the morning, when the rolls have raised to or near the top of the pan, bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree (325 degree if glass pan). Note: for those nut lovers, you can sprinkle pecans or walnuts before raising.
Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna shared
on Dec 22, 2021 9:28 PM

Cream Cheese Cookies Recipe

I remember each and every Christmas I would make Cream Cheese Cookies with my grandmother. They were one of my absolute favorite holiday cookies, and we'd always color some of them green, blue, and red. 1C butter 4 oz cream cheese 1C sugar l egg yolk 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp vanilla 1/2 tsp almond extr. 2-1/2 C flour Cream butter. Add sugar, egg yolk, cream cheese, salt, vanilla & almond. Mix. Add flour. Divide into 3 portions and chill until firm. Roll into balls, 3/4" - 1" each, press down with sugared glass. Bake 8 min. @ 400 degrees, ungreased cookie sheet. To double, use l egg instead of 2 yolks. I lightly color 1/3 pink and 1/3 green. Proceed as above.
Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna shared
on Apr 06, 2021 9:15 PM

Helping teach an aspiring entrepreneur

I remember so many fragmented details about grandma helping me run my first business. I must have been around 8 years old and grandma had lavender growing outside her mobile home. When the lavender matured, I would pick them and then let the branches dry on newspaper. After a few days, grandma would cut some lace into squares and I would fill each snippet with a healthy dose of lavender and close the top as best as I could. She would then wrap the top for me with ribbons. Once we had a handful of these I then went door to door to sell lavender to the seniors living in the retirement park. I mean, who could resist a young boy selling lavender? I remember telling them it was great to put in their sock drawers. lol Thank you grandma for helping me learn what it was like to run a small business at such an early age. It's funny to think that only 8 years later, when I got my drivers license, the first thing I did was return to that mobile home park, and others nearby, to offer my gardening services. But that's another story...
Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna shared
on Feb 05, 2021 6:53 PM

Joyce Vandever In Her Own Words

This was written from Joyce to her grandchildren Daniel & Laynie in February 1991 Laynie and Daniel, You have had a few questions, Daniel, about the "young" me and I'm sure Laynie will as she gets older, so I am putting my thoughts to paper now since I had incorporated the following into a letter I sent off recently. My first love is music. The classics, because of growing up with them and my years of piano lessons, and the 1940s, war years with, as has been said, the most romantic music written. (My pre and teen years) But also, I try to see all the Broadway musicals that I am able - My One and Only (Tommy Tune and great Gershin music), Cats, Chorus Line; Pirates of Penzance and Annie (London's Drury Lane and Palace Theatres), and with luck, Les Miserables in June of this year. I ushered for two years at the Circle Star in Redwood City (late 1980s) and saw most of the "big names", Sinatra (great), Tom Jones (too noisy even in the Ladies' Room!), Willie Nelson - kick in the butt!, Johnny Cash, Kay Starr, Perry Como, Liberace, Roger Williams, Harry Belafonte (at the Center), Tony Bennett. These are probably singers that you will never know much about! I love to travel - have spent 7 or 8 months in the British Isles (my favorite) and the Continent, Greece and Turkey. Most trips were alone - meet lots of the natives that way and I would just hop the train and go where it took me - with a little planning, of course. I enjoy talking to people - from teenagers to the 'old ones' - and met our relatives in Wales whom I have visited since. And Cousins Gwyneth and Jennifer have been over to visit us - when you were a little one, Daniel. I'm a hard working employee, loyal, good supervisor and trainer, am trusted with much that is confidential, have a good working relationship with all levels of management, enjoy my position and can't wait to retire!! (Keep hoping I will win the Reader's Digest Contest and retire SOON.) If I ever won a lot of money I would buy all my friends the thing they wanted most, each of your mommys and myself a new car and depending on how much, a new house each plus a nice savings account for each of you and lot of money to Martha's Kitchen to feed the hungry! My greatest joys are my daughters and grandchildren (that's you!) - we're close (I think), can discuss anything - and often do. Probably my greatest 'passion' are the 49ers. I've been a rabid fan since 1950 or 51 and my close friends know better than to telephone me when they are playing because I probably won't answer. But, of course, your moms and I call back and forth on a particularly good play! My greatest regret was my 2nd marriage and my only envy is a happily married couple. After the 2nd divorce I was so fed up, slightly bitter and afraid that I could not have fun with anyone and, worse yet, no one could have fun with me. Then I met my dear friend 'K' and we had such a wonderful time - so much laughter and closeness - and he died. I really couldn't bear to see anyone else for too many years. And now I've been alone for 15 years which has been long enough to become opinionated, stubborn, and used to doing things one way - MY way! My other regret is not being able to have had more children. I love them, found them a joy to raise, and would have really enjoyed having foster children. When I worked at Juvenile Probation in the early 70s I wanted to bring half of the kids in the Hall home with me. Later I found I could have a couple but felt I should have a stable man around - not just a home with a working woman. I'm interested in politics and have usually voted democrat - or independent. Republicans are too concerned with big business, money - and to heck with the people. Cried buckets when the Kennedys were assassinated but then I'm a little soft that way - wand worse with animals (not the eating kind). One of my 'fun' days would be to curl up with a good book, good music playing, watch a raging storm, have a nice fire (of course, I don't have a fireplace). I enjoy working in the garden - puttering, really - entertaining, cooking (I am a good cook - or at least used to be. Mexican, Italian, German, Chinese, ENglish pancakes or plain old American). Will have to teach one or both of you how to make the English pancakes and you already make good enchiladas, Daniel. I dislike: hypocrites, gossips, oysters, rudeness, liver, negativity, guns, pessimism, alcoholism and drugs, inconsideration and rudeness or anyone, turnips, discrimination, inequality among the sexes, I like: antiques, teddy bears, art & wine shows, owls, exploring country roads, movies with happy endings, ballgames of any kind, hotdogs, walking on the beach, collecting shells (collecting most anything!), black olives, ice cream, coconut cake, dogs and cats and mice and guinea pigs, and flowers of all kinds. Grandma
Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna shared
on Feb 02, 2020 7:37 PM

Family Tree

Marian's immediate relatives including parents, siblings, partnerships and children in the Kroetch family tree.
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Marian's Family Tree

Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch


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Frank Edward Kroetch


Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch

Married: March 26, 1949 - July 1968
Cause of Separation: Divorce
Married at: Bellingham, Whatcom County, Washington United States
Divorced at: Sandpoint, Bonner County, Idaho, 83864 United States
Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch
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Jack Wendell Vandever


Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch

Married: 1970 - 1974
Cause of Separation: Divorce
Married at: Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County, California United States
Divorced at: San Jose, Santa Clara County, California United States
Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch


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Kathy Pinna commented on Sep 10, 2017
RIP Mom.
Daniel Pinna commented on Sep 10, 2017
I'll miss you grandma. What a way to pass! You leave us on National Grandparents Day 2017, a holiday created by Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade with whom you share your first name. I hope the water helped you the last few days & you enjoyed the final songs I played for you: Bagpipes Amazing Grace, Frank Sinatra's "Come Dance With Me", & Josh Grobin's "You Raise Me Up". Forever with me. xoxo
Daniel Pinna commented on Sep 13, 2017
Daniel Pinna commented on Oct 11, 2017
Happy birthday Grandma! We launched ssl version today on your birthday :)
Daniel Pinna commented on Dec 06, 2017
First Thanksgiving without you - but you were here in spirit. We used your mother's plates just like we did all those years ago at your place.
Kathy Pinna commented on Dec 07, 2017
And now we're looking to the first Christmas - but memories of last Christmas are strong! :)
Kathy Pinna commented on Dec 11, 2017
Miss you and love you, Mom!
Daniel Pinna commented on Oct 10, 2018
Happy Birthday Grandma! One year ago we went SSL, and today we are dealing with sys ops. Patterns.
Kathy Pinna commented on Oct 11, 2018
Another turn of the wheel . . . and your grandson is still making you proud! :)
Daniel Pinna commented on Oct 10, 2019
Happy Birthday again Grandma!! Today we are working on this new view for bios. that I'm certain the entire community will love. We are really evolving and it's a joy to be working on these series of projects. We've accomplished a lot so far this year. Thought of you last night while I spent time on GG's bio. I remember while you lived at Valley Village and spent your time feeding the squirrels in the 'cigarette hut'. The last few times you visited Lisa and me at El Rio you repeatedly said that you had dreamed of this house, or rather had spent time here before. When I explained it was a brand new home it confused you. I thought last night perhaps it's because you connected with where you are today in your final years, and are here with me now. Celebrating your 89th Birthday Grandma. Update: I sent this prematurely on 10/10....NOW that it's officially your birthday (at 1:36am on 10/11) - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Daniel Pinna commented on Oct 15, 2019
We launched the new bio view yesterday! Thanks to your bio for being a testing ground :)
Daniel Pinna commented on Oct 16, 2019
Thank you once again for helping to discover that replies in comments had an issue ;) (lol and just now yet again).
Daniel Pinna commented on Oct 11, 2020
Happy Birthday Grandma! Thought about you a lot over the past two weeks - especially in the hospital. Your GREAT grandson was born on 9/28/2020 at 6:13am. You would have been overjoyed. Sorry you missed him by just 3 years :)
Daniel Pinna commented on Oct 29, 2021
When we celebrated my boy’s first birthday you were very present in my mind. I know you would have liked to be around for the next generation.


Share Marian's obituary or write your own to preserve her legacy.

Marian “Joyce” Vandever passed away due to natural causes on Sept. 10, 2017 in San Jose, California. Joyce was born in Seattle, Washington to George and Eileen “Connie” Tasker Benning. She attended schools in Bremerton, Washington where her father owned the local Chevy dealership. Joyce met her future husband, Frank Kroetch, while both were students at the University of Washington. After their marriage in 1949, they relocated to the Willow Glen area of San Jose, California, where both their daughters were born. Joyce spent her career working as a secretary at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. She loved traveling to the British Isles, connecting with her many Bremerton High School classmates, and attending plays and musicals. Joyce was preceded in death by her husbands, Frank Kroetch and Jack Vandever; her sister, Lois Benning Ewen; and stepbrother, Charles H. Barrett. She is survived by her daughters, Kathleen Pinna and Pam Marks (Neil); grandchildren, Daniel Pinna (Lisa) and Layne Marks-Jacobs; and numerous nieces and nephews. (Marian 'Joyce' Vandever passed away due to natural causes on September 10, 2017 at the White Blossom Care Center in San Jose, Ca. Joyce was born in Seattle, Washington to George and Eileen 'Connie' Tasker Benning. She attended schools in Bremerton, Wa where her father owned the local Chevy dealership. While attending the University of Washington, Joyce met her future husband, Frank Kroetch. After their marriage in 1949, they relocated to the Willow Glen area of San Jose, CA, where both their daughters were born. Joyce first worked as an operator at the San Jose Water works, and later spent her career working for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Joyce served in the position as the secretary to the CFO for over 16 years, then retired 5 years later, while secretary to the head of the mental health division. Joyce loved traveling to the British Isles, taking road trips with her friends, attending plays and musicals, and spending time with her two grandchildren. Joyce was preceded in death by her parents, husbands Frank Kroetch and Jack Vandever, her sister Lois Benning Ewen and step-brother Charles H. Barrett. She is survived by her daughters Kathleen and Pam, grandchildren Daniel and Layne, and numerous nieces and nephews. Marian “Joyce” Vandever San Jose, CA Oct. 11, 1930 to Sept. 10, 2017

1930 - 2017 World Events

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during Marian's lifetime.

In 1930, in the year that Marian Joyce (Benning) Kroetch was born, as head of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, William Hays established a code of decency that outlined what was acceptable in films. The public - and government - had felt that films in the '20's had become increasingly risque and that the behavior of its stars was becoming scandalous. Laws were being passed. In response, the heads of the movie studios adopted a voluntary "code", hoping to head off legislation. The first part of the code prohibited "lowering the moral standards of those who see it", called for depictions of the "correct standards of life", and forbade a picture from showing any sort of ridicule towards a law or "creating sympathy for its violation". The second part dealt with particular behavior in film such as homosexuality, the use of specific curse words, and miscegenation.

In 1955, by the time she was 25 years old, on September 10th the TV show "Gunsmoke" debuted on CBS. It went on to be television's longest-running western. Matt Dillon, Chester, Doc Adams, and Miss Kitty became household names.

In 1966, Marian was 36 years old when on September 8th, the first Star Trek episode, "The Man Trap," was broadcast on NBC. The plot concerned a creature that sucked salt from human bodies. The original series only aired for 3 seasons due to low ratings.

In 1983, by the time she was 53 years old, physicist Sally K. Ride, 32, became the first US woman astronaut in space as a crew member aboard space shuttle Challenger on June 18th. She was also the youngest (32) astronaut to go into space. Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space in 1963.

In 1997, at the age of 67 years old, Marian was alive when on August 31st, Princess Diana of Great Britain was killed when her car crashed into a pillar in the tunnel under the Pont de l'Alma bridge in Paris. The car she was riding in was trying to evade the paparazzi but it was also discovered later that the driver of the car, who was also killed, had three times the legal limit of alcohol which likely contributed to the accident.

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