Joseph Abraham Bennett, age 99, departed from this life on January 21 in Nashville, Tennessee after a brief illness. Joe was a remarkable gentleman whose quick wit, boyish charm, and good-natured spirit enriched the lives of all fortunate enough to have known him.
He could connect on-the-spot with people from any and all walks of life, from waitresses to fighter pilots to bank presidents. His love of gadgets and electronic toys made him a favorite with the grandkids and great- grandkids who he loved to watch playing with his interactive R2D2, transformers, race car tracks, Wii, and remote-controlled helicopters to name just a few. He loved joking and wisecracking with friends, kids, caretakers, cashiers and anyone else he encountered. Nobody could have more fun with a set of chattering teeth than Joe.
Joe was a serial hobbyist who did everything at full throttle whether it was ham radio, woodworking, sailing or collecting nautical antiques. He always seemed to know when it was time to let go of one activity and start something new. This served him well in coping with the reversals and losses in his life as well. He never looked back, never had time for regrets or second-guessing.
Born and raised in Boston, he graduated from Dorchester High School, was a long-suffering Red Sox fan, and idolized Ted Williams and Red Auerbach. He served four years in the Marine Corps before starting a 38 year career as an Air Traffic Controller for the FAA. He was a proud 32nd degree Mason, Valley of Bangor, Maine for 60 years. Joe was a devoted, affectionate and beloved husband, father, grandfather and great- grandfather.
He is survived by his four children: Eileen Grutchfield of San Jose, California, Robert Bennett of Morro Bay, California, Harvey Bennett (Kathy) of Nashville and Laurie B. Jones (Don) of Midlothian, Virginia; eight grandchildren: Terri Viera, Bart Grutchfield, Jennifer Bennett, Melissa Wenger, Nora Woo, Susanne Bennett, Kaitlin Jones and Brennen Jones, and eight great-grandchildren( who called him simply “Great”). Also survived by sister Alice Summers of Boynton Beach, Florida and brother Elliot Bennett of Los Angeles and numerous nieces and nephews.
Predeceased by his wife of 52 years, Jean (Alberts) (February 1989) and his second wife of 22 years, Selma Cardon (June 2012), and brothers Bill, Sidney and Tom. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Tennessee Justice Center. Joe’s grateful family gives a special thanks to his friends and staff at The Cumberland Assisted Living; medical, nursing and pastoral staff of Saint Thomas Mid-town Hospital, and Gentiva Hospice.