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U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. (retired) Jeff Douglas Bennett received his final orders and was transferred to heaven to be with the Lord on May 13, 2011.
He passed away peacefully at his home in Sequim after a long battle with prostate cancer.
Jeff spent his final days surrounded by his wife, his six children and other family members.
Jeff was born in Sunflower, Mississippi, as the third child to parents Leroy and Lucretia Riddell Bennett.
Jeff started his military career in the Navy at age 17, and after serving two years, he attended and then graduated from Penn State in 1953 as a commissioned officer in the United States Air Force.
He married Nancy Virginia Sheffer of Stafford, New York, on July 4, 1953. They had six children who were born in Oklahoma, Alabama, New York, Hawaii and Washington in the early years of their military life.
They have lived in Sequim since 1977.
Jeff served our country as an Air Force pilot for 27 years and was a survivor of three wars. He earned a Bronze Star and received the Presidential Unit Citation, two Commendation Medals and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church, the Air Force Association, the World War II Memorial Association and Move America Forward.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy; daughters Deborah (Phil) Wisniewski, Daphne (Glenn) Rudolph and Donna (Tim) Kullman; sons Douglas (Debbi), Dennis (Pam) and Dwight (Carrie) Bennett; and many much-loved grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins. He is also survived by sisters-in-law Margaret, Nola and Rena Sheffer and Peggy Bennett and brothers-in-law Eugene Sheffe and Jim Baldwin.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Leroy and Lucretia, and siblings Juanita Stewart, Roy Bennett and Margie Baldwin.
Jeff believed in God, country and honor and set a wonderful example for his family.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Any donations may be made in his honor to Smile Train, a foundation for children with cleft palettes, P.O. Box 96231, Washington, D.C. 20090, or at www.smiletrain.org.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on May 22, 2011