Obituaries : * Winnie B. Carsner, Ojai Entrepreneur

Winnie B. Carsner, a longtime Ojai resident, died Friday after a long illness. She was 87.

Born Jan. 19, 1908, in Ardmore, Oklahoma Territory, Carsner grew up an independent and free-willed woman who started driving a car at the age of 10, said her daughter, Lavon Roberts.

She married her late husband, Pat, at 15, and the two became partners in marriage and business.


“They were very close,” Roberts said. “In the early days they’d buy fixer-uppers together. Mother and Dad would get to work and then resell them for a little more money. She was a great carpenter.”

In 1931, during the Depression, the couple moved with their daughters to Ojai and began working at Bill Baker’s Bakery. After nearly a decade of saving, the family bought three small hotels around Ventura County. They then sold the hotels and bought a series of small Ojai businesses, including the Ojai Pharmacy, the Ojai Variety Store, the Yellow Door Shop and Pat’s Liquor.

After her husband died in 1958, she gave up working in the family businesses and focused her attention on her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“She was interested in everything in Ojai,” her daughter said. “She was a friend to everyone, and a lot of people came to her for advice on all sorts of things.”

She is survived by her daughters, Lavon Roberts of Ojai and Marilyn Baker of Waterford, Maine; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

A graveside gathering will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Ivy Lawn Cemetery in Ventura. Memorial contributions should be made to Help of Ojai and the Ojai Historical Museum.