Buyer Vernita Bewley Dies

Vernita Bewley, a dress buyer for Los Angeles buying offices in the heyday of department store fashion, died May 21.

Memorial services were held May 26 at Thornhill Valley Funeral Home in Spokane, Wash.

Born to a milliner and a farmer on March 23, 1917, in Potlatch, Idaho, Bewley grew up in Spokane and graduated from Central Valley High School.

Bewley worked as a dress buyer for the Bon Marche department store in Spokane in the 1950s. Her family then moved to Los Angeles, where she bought dresses for May Co. and Macy’s department stores through the Harry & Sidney Arkin buying office as well as others. She eventually opened her own office in the 1970s.

The apparel industry was a large part of her life, according to daughter Jeanne Gallardo. Bewley had a love of fashion that she tried to impart to her children, who sometimes didn’t share her interest.

“She was always buying our clothes—I didn’t know what size I was until I was 18,” Gallardo said. “Once, when I did buy a white one-piece bathing suit with owls on it, she hated it because it wasn’t in fashion, so she made me return it.”

Bewley was preceded in death by her husband, Charles.

Survivors include two daughters, Elaine Willman of Toppenish, Wash., and Gallardo, of Los Angeles; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. —Nola Sarkisian-Miller

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