Walter Dick Bennett

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Walter Dick Bennett, lieutenant commander, U.S. Navy (retired), 81, of Ellington, loving husband of 56 years to Janet (Freeman) Bennett, passed away on Thursday, July 10, 2014, at St. Francis Hospital.

Born in Signal Hill City, California, he was the son of the late Perez Nathaniel and Mary Jane (Tullis) Bennett. His father was a minister and the family lived in many towns in the states of New Mexico, California, Washington, and finally Medicine Lake, Montana, where Dick graduated from high school. He briefly attended Montana State University, Missoula, Montana, before venturing out to seek his future in service to his country. Dick proudly served for more than 20 years in the U.S. Navy during the Korean and Vietnam War years before his retirement in 1973. He joined the Navy in 1952 and served over 10 years as an enlisted man earning the rank of chief petty officer before being selected into the Limited Duty Officer Program. During his enlisted years he served aboard the USS John C. Butler DE339, USS Shelton DD790, USS Trout SS566, and the USS Robert E. Lee, SSBN601. He was commissioned as an ensign in the nuclear submarine program in 1963, and was subsequently selected by Admiral Rickover to join his nuclear program as a naval reactors representative. Dick served for five years at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, and for five years at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, California, before retiring in 1973 as a lieutenant commander. After his retirement from the Navy, Dick began a career with ABB/ Combustion Engineering in Windsor in their commercial nuclear power plant division that spanned over 22 years. He worked in the business development group, the nuclear power plant licensing program, and finally as the lead for companies site emergency management program. He retired in 1995 as an assistant project manager.

Dick and Janet have resided in Ellington for more than 40 years. He is a 54-year member of St. John's Lodge 22, A.F.&A.M., Greenfield Center, New York, and is currently affiliated with Fayette Lodge 69, A.F.&A.M., Ellington. Dick enjoyed camping, woodworking, skiing, hunting, and was an avid model railroad enthusiast. He had an active leadership role in the Masonic camping club (NCT) in his retirement years, planning annual gatherings around the United States, helping the club maintain a campground in Massachusetts along with developing the monthly club newsletter.

In addition to his loving wife, he is survived by his beloved sons, David, and his wife, Dana Machain Bennett, of Griswold, Thomas Bennett, and his wife, Cheryl, of Lebanon, and James Bennett of Ellington; seven grandchildren, Susan, Michael, Jennifer, Kristen, Garrett, Rebecka, and Renae Bennett; and a grandson by marriage, Andrew Machain (Katie); and two great-grandchildren, Asher and Liam, all of Missoula, Montana; a sister-in-law, Donna Bennett of Billings, Montana; a cousin, Suzanne Watkins of Dunlap, California; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was also predeceased by his sister, Katherine; and his brother, Lobell Bennett.

His family will receive friends for calling hours on Friday, July 18, 2014, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Ladd-Turkington & Carmon Funeral Home, 551 Talcottville Road (Route 83), Vernon, followed by a funeral service at the funeral home beginning at 7 p.m. Burial will be in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, at a later date with full military honors.

Memorial donations in his memory may be made to the Masonic Charity Foundation of Connecticut, P.O. Box 70, Wallingford, CT 06492; or to the Ellington Volunteer Ambulance Corps, 41 Maple St., Ellington, CT 06029.

For online condolences and guestbook access please visit

Funeral Home
Ladd-Turkington & Carmon Funeral Home
551 Talcottville Road
Vernon, CT 06066
(860) 875-3536
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Published in Journal Inquirer from July 15 to July 19, 2014
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