Passed away February 24, 2012
Jan Berenstain, best known as the co-creator of the Berenstain Bears, has passed away. She was 88. Her husband Stan passed away back in 2005.
Berenstain, a longtime resident of Solebury in southeastern Pennsylvania, suffered a severe stroke on Thursday and died Friday without regaining consciousness, her son Mike Berenstain said.
The gentle tales of Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Brother Bear and Sister Bear were inspired by the Berenstain children, and later their grandchildren. The stories address children’s common concerns and aim to offer guidance on subjects like dentist visits, peer pressure, a new sibling or summer camp.
The first Berenstain Bears book, “The Big Honey Hunt,” was published in 1962. Over the years, more than 300 titles have been released in 23 languages , most recently in Arabic and Icelandic , and have become a rite of passage for generations of young readers.
“They say jokes don’t travel well, but family humor does,” Jan Berenstain told The Associated Press in 2011. “Family values is what we’re all about.”
Stan and Jan Berenstain, both Philadelphia natives, were 18 when they met on their first day at art school in 1941.
They married in 1946, after Stan Berenstain returned home from serving as a medical illustrator at a stateside Army hospital during World War II. During that time, Jan Berenstain worked as a draftsman for the Army Corps of Engineers and as a riveter building Navy seaplanes.
The Berenstains had two sons and four grandchildren. Mike Berenstain said she had been working on two books and was doing illustrations until the day before she passed away. He will continue writing and illustrating future Berenstain Bears books.
RIP Jan Berenstain. You and your late husband brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. You’ve left a legacy that will last forever.