In Passing: Barbara Benon (April 9, 1932 – July 11, 2020)

By Montecito Journal   |   August 27, 2020

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Barbara was the daughter of Edward and Cecilia Moscowitz. She married Don Kaufman in 1950, and had two children, Kenny and Richelle (Ricky). After the tragic death of her husband in a plane crash, Barbara moved to Las Vegas in order to support her children, where she was a cocktail waitress, and make-up artist to the stars. After several years, she was able to move back to Los Angeles, where she met the love of her life, Leon Benon. They were married in 1969 and honeymooned in Europe, which began their lifelong love of travel. Barbara and Leon took a leap of faith, and moved to Santa Barbara in 1978, where they opened a women’s clothing store and hair salon named Benon For Clothes on Coast Village Road. One of Barbara’s favorite activities was putting on trunk shows at her store and home on Fernald Point, where she was able to combine her passions for fashion and fundraising. For each trunk show, Barbara took a portion of the proceeds and donated to various local Santa Barbara and Montecito charities including the Cancer Center at Cottage Hospital (now known as the Ridley Tree Cancer Center), Santa Barbara Zoo, and more. Barbara’s generosity extended beyond her family, and she was always willing to lend a helping hand to those in the community and beyond.

Barbara moved to Santa Barbara in 1978 and opened a women’s clothing store and hair salon named Benon For Clothes on Coast Village Road

Barbara was a renaissance woman – admired by all, and loved by many. She was intelligent, sharp, and witty, in addition to being one of the most kind-hearted souls. She is survived by her daughters Richelle (Ricky), Gaspar and Roberta (Bobbi) Kaufman; son-in-law, Orman Gaspar; stepdaughter, Kathleen (Kathy) Benon; sister, Sharon Hasson and brother-in-law, Ronnie Hasson. She is also survived by her loving extended family and many friends. She was a daughter, a sister, a mother, an aunt, and finally became a “GG” to her “surrogate great grand-daughter” Isla Benon.

Barbara was predeceased by her loving husband of 38 years, Leon; her son, Kenny Kaufman; stepson Aron Lee Benon; brothers Robert Moscowitz and Raymond Moscowitz. Services were held at Hillside Memorial Park & Mortuary in Los Angeles on July 16, 2020. Hillside Memorial’s website is:

Barbara was a savvy businesswoman who maintained and grew the family empire in Santa Barbara and Montecito after Leon’s passing in 2007. We will miss her style, charm, vibrancy, and love. She was a friend, a confidante, a mentor, and full of life lessons and wisdom that transcended her own life experiences. Donations can be made in Barbara’s honor to the Ridley Tree Cancer Center.


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