Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Anne Leonard Bredon, Native American arts

   Anne Leonard Bredon died peacefully in her sleep in Clovis on Saturday November 9, 2019, following a brief illness.

   She was born in
Oakland on September 7, 1930 and was the eldest of two daughters of Dr. Leonard Loeb and Lora Loeb (Lane).

   She attended schools in both Eureka and Berkeley.  After high school she attended Humboldt State College, receiving her A.B. in Art in 1957.

   She later attended UC Berkeley, where her father was a professor of Physics, and received a Masters' degree in Mathematics in 1963.

   She married Lee Johannsen in 1951 and had two children Lenore and Joel.  They divorced in 1959 and she moved to Berkeley to pursue her graduate work.

   While at Berkeley she met her second husband, Glen Bredon.  They married in 1963 and had two children, Aaron and Joelle.

   In 1969 she moved to New Jersey when her husband Glen joined the mathematics department at Rutgers University.

  She remained in New Jersey until Glen's retirement in 1993, when they relocated to North Fork, CA.

   With an AB in Art and a Master's in Math, to say Anne had a wide range of interests and talents would be an understatement.  She painted, wrote music, read scientific journals, dabbled in botany, belly danced and traveled the world.

   She had a passion for learning and could expertly expound on a range of subjects when prompted.

  She never drove and because of that she had the opportunity to develop her skills in beadwork.  Her son Aaron, who could drive, offered to take a beading class with her and drive her back and forth to class.

   It was in this medium that her talents in art and math came together and the results were amazing.  In particular, she was fascinated with Native American beadwork, which led her to other mediums in the Native American crafts world.

   She developed her skills in rug weaving, mainly in the Navajo style, again with spectacular results.  In her later years, though still beading, she turned to Native American basketry.  She developed a keen understanding of the different plants and grasses used in Native American basketry, when and how to harvest and process them as well as the intricate structures and patterns used in weaving baskets.

   She received many recognitions and accolades for her intricate beadwork designs, rugs and basketry, but more importantly she earned the respect of the tribal elders and artisans.

   One cannot overlook Anne's service to her North Fork community.  She was a life member of the Mono Museum, participated in many community activities, including acting, and donated her time and materials to a variety of causes, including making crowns, armbands and other regalia for local Native American youth to wear at regional Pow Wows.

  Lastly, one cannot forget her "big claim to fame".  In 1959 she performed some of her songs on a local Berkeley radio station. One song in particular caught the ear of her friend Janet Smith, who asked for a recording of it.

   It was through Janet that Joan Baez came across the song and included it in one of her albums.  Fast forward to the 1980's, when Janet's son was listening to Led Zepplin's first album.  She had a moment of recognition when the song "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" started playing and quickly realized it was the very song the Anne wrote, and she shared with Joan Baez.

   She reached out to Anne and after some legal wrangling, Anne was given proper credit for the song, along with back royalties and cemented her legacy as a one hit wonder.

   Anne is survived by her daughter Lenore Winters and her husband George Hemphill; son Joel Johnannsen and wife Melissa and their two children Hillary and Maxwell from her marriage to Lee Johannsen; her son Aaron Bredon and daughter Joelle Bredon from her marriage to Glen Bredon; her sister Jacqueline Conner  and her good friend and traveling companion Sandi Clark.

   Her husband of 33 years, Glen Bredon, predeceased her in 2000.

   A Celebration of Life will be held at the North Fork Rancheria Community Center on December 14, 2019 at 1 PM with a reception following at the center immediately afterward.

   In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Save the Redwoods League at SavetheRedwoods.org.

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