Bennett James Stephen Bennett, age 94, was born August 9, 1919, in Wolf Summit, W. VA. son of Ella Gay and Stephen Ernest Bennett. He married Naomi L. Lynch of Salem, W. Va. in 1943. Together they had three children, Judith, Stephen and Marjorie. James graduated from WVU with a B.S Degree in Agriculture. Following active duty with the Army Air Force, he was employed in Ohio by the USDA Soil and Water Conservation Service as Assistant State Conservationist where he was inducted into the Ohio Conservationist Hall of Fame. He served as the first president for the Ohio SCS Retirees. He was an active member of the Worthington United Methodist Church 1963-1970. He was appointed as State Conservationist in West Virginia in 1970. Bennett received the highest honor in a Fellow Recognition by the SCS of America, the USDA Super Service Award for Rural Development, was first President of the Alumni Association for the College of Agriculture and Forestry, served as Chairman of the WVU Rural Progress Organization, was Chairman of the Membership Committee of the West Virginia University Agricultural and Forestry Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Gamma Sigma Delta Honor society at WVU. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for the West Virginia University College of Agriculture and Forestry. James and Naomi retired to Cape Coral, Fla. in 1977 where he became Chairman of the Kiwanis Environmental Conservation Committee. He established a Kiwanis Tree Identification Area at Jaycee Park and Tree Planning Days for Cape Coral; organized and was President of Cape Coral Beautification Committee; served as Chairman of the Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for five years, played a major role in the formation of Kiwanis Gardens featuring a waterfall, handicap fishing pier and a gazebo. In 2003 James was nominated by Kiwanis as a candidate for Cape Coral Citizen of the Year. James is preceded in death by his mother, father, seven brothers, three sisters, and son-in-law. He is survived by his loving wife, Naomi Lee of 71 years; daughters, Judy Chester, Marjorie Stephens; and son, Stephen Bennett (Karen); grandchildren, Meagan Hedrick (Michael), Mollie Weikert (Scott), Nathan Chester (Victoria), Lisa Wilcut (Dave), Erin Wilson (Rob), Jimmy Bennett (Katie); and great grandchildren, Sydney and Mackenzie Hedrick, Bronwyn, Ella and Charlotte Weikert, Bode and Ryann Chester, Elijah and Benjamin Wilcut, Tanner and Max Wilson, Graham Bennett. Funeral Service 1 p.m. Monday, May 12, 2014 at RUTHERFORD-CORBIN FUNERAL HOME, 515 High St., Worthington, OH 43085, where friends may call from 12Noon until Service time. Burial Union Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Wounded Warrior Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org. Condolences to family may be sent to www.rutherfordfuneralhome.com.
Rutherford Corbin Funeral Home
515 High Street Worthington, OH 43085
Published in The Columbus Dispatch on May 9, 2014