Retired Sonoma County businessman Ira Eugene Bennett died in a traffic accident near Bakersfield, California on January 3, 2013. He was 64 years old. For 35 years, Ira Bennett provided land acquisition services for numerous home developments and school sites in California, including the new Roseland Creek Elementary School in Santa Rosa. Ira, a native New Yorker, was a psychology student at SUNY at Stonybrook when he met Ruth, his wife of 45 years. His greatest pleasure in life was his family. He is survived by his wife Ruth Bennett, daughter Emily Bennett, son Lucas Bennett, daughter-in-law Zoe Edmonds, grandson Emilio Bennett and sister Naomi Finkel. Ira was an accomplished entrepreneur, surfer, musician and airplane pilot. When he wasn't planning his next business venture, Ira pursued and developed his passions to their fullest. Once a resident of the famed Taylor Camp on Kauai in the early 1970's, Ira returned to Kauai several times a year to surf and relax by the ocean that he loved. He enjoyed the Sonoma and Napa county music scene and had the pleasure of playing piano and keyboards with many talented local musicians. As an instrument rated pilot, Ira flew his airplane with great caution, and insisted his piloting skills were borne of a business necessity, rather than pleasure. He had recently earned a brown belt in Kenpo martial arts. Ira relished a good game of high stakes poker and had an enviable run of luck at it. Ira's sense of humor and great wit were a source of joy and chagrin to those around him. He was a deep thinker, a lifelong learner and a mentor, who took a special interest in helping his friends and family develop new goals and skills and laugh every day. Ira enjoyed long lasting friendships, but called himself an introvert. Out of respect to his introversion, no services are planned.
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Published Online in the Press Democrat from Jan. 11 to Jan. 12, 2013