After suffering from the effects of congestive heart failure for several months, longtime progressive and environmental activist Jean Newman "Jeanie" Bernstein died at her Laguna Beach home surrounded by her children and caregiver Angie on Oct. 22.
She was 88.
According to a memorial page posted by her children, Newman was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and moved as a young girl with her family to Capitola, where her world view was shaped by the extreme poverty of her schoolmates and their families in the rural community of the Great Depression.
She again moved with her family in 1939 to Los Angeles. She graduated from Beverly Hills High, served as editor of the campus newspaper at UCLA and met her future husband, Sanford (Sandy) Bernstein. They married in a small ceremony in the UCLA chapel, "boycotted by her parents because of their disapproval of her choice of an impoverished radical as a husband," according to the memorial page.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Jean dropped out of UCLA to work at Lockheed during WWII. She and her husband were active in liberal causes as they raised a family. She worked for the Hollywood Press Times, and in public relations for Cedars Sinai Hospital. She later divorced, moved to Laguna Beach and raised her children there alone and later with partner Peter Carr.
Over her lifetime, she protested against the Vietnam War, nuclear weapons and the nuclear power generating station at San Onofre, among many progressive causes. She was a founding member of the Alliance for Survival, and she famously chained herself to a bulldozer preparing to carve a toll road through Laguna Canyon.
Newman is survived by her son Marc, daughters Jolie, Leyna and Shari and four grandchildren, one of whom said of her, "She's just crazy about peace."
Her family says her ashes will be scattered in the ocean, the high Sierras and the desert