John Henry Bennett, a resident of Boynton Beach, Fla., and Winter Harbor, died Aug. 8, 2018, in Ellsworth, just a few days short of his 92nd birthday and coincidentally on the same date as his father, who died in 1969.
John was born on Aug. 19, 1926, in Lakewood, N.J., to parents Kathleen and Henry Bennett. He was raised in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Cazenovia. Upon graduation from Cazenovia High School, he forged his father’s signature on enlistment documents to enter military service and served as a corpsman aboard the USS Salerno Bay, a U.S. Marine aircraft carrier during World War II.
Upon military discharge he attended and graduated from Plattsburgh State College. John married his first wife, Dorie Brown Bennett, and moved to Long Island. Dorie predeceased John in 1988. John began his career as a history teacher at Mattituck High School. During his teaching career he was a lead official in the Eastern Long Island division of varsity basketball referees.
Following his teaching years, he changed careers to work for Dawes Laboratory. During the early ’60s, he served as special assistant to Perry Duryea to draw up legislative districts.
John came back to the field of education as assistant to the superintendent in Middle Country and as director for special projects for the superintendent of Suffolk 2 BOCES. That position led to his selection in 1974 as executive director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, a post he held until his retirement in 1990. Under his leadership the council grew in stature as an important organization in the Albany legislative arena and New York public education.
John was a member of the Delray Dunes CC, Winter Harbor Yacht Club, Palm Beach Society of Four Arts and the American Legion.
John’s culinary skills were legendary with generous hospitality to family and friends. He is survived by his loving wife of 28 years, Margaret Bennett, sister-in-law Barbara Bennett, brother-in-law Howard Flierl and wife Bonnie, and Brother-in-law Peter Flierl and wife, Shirley, plus nieces and nephews. John and Margaret’s mutual love and admiration were tested by John’s penchant for finding keys allowing access to the family car. Friends commented after his passing “John again found the hidden auto keys and drove himself to heaven.”
A celebration service will be held Sunday, Aug. 19, at 3 p.m. in St. Christopher’s Church, Winter Harbor, followed by a reception at the Winter Harbor Yacht Club.
Arrangements by Acadia Burial & Cremation Direct, 248 State St., Ellsworth
Condolences may be expressed at www.acadiacremation.com.