John Thomas Bennett
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December 7, 1920 - June 12, 2014John Thomas Bennett (Jack) passed away peacefully at his Rossmoor residence on June 12, 2014. A proud Southside Chicago native, he was born on December 7, 1920, graduated from Fenwick High School in 1938 and DePaul University in 1943, the year he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He participated in numerous pivotal European Theater battles to include Messina, Anzio, and on June 6, 1944 with the 6th Wave, the Normandy Invasion/Omaha Beach. Thereafter, he saw more combat during "The Battle of the Bulge."
After the war in Europe ended, he was sent to the Boston Naval Yard slotted for service in the Pacific Theater and the invasion of Japan. While stationed in Boston he met Ruth Margaret O'Leary on a blind date. They were married in August 1945 and their final duty station was Seattle, Wa. Jack continued to be active in the Naval Reserve retiring as Lt. Commander. The couple loved the West Coast and relocated to San Francisco eventually settling in the Westlake District of Daly City. Here they raised 6 uniquely distinctive children and were founding members of Our Lady of Mercy Parish and School. They continued to be active in numerous parish ministries to include the Westlake Catholic Men and Women.
Jack enjoyed a long successful career in sales first with Jergens Lotion and subsequently for over 30 years with Brach's Candy. In and around his circle of friends and associates, he called himself a "jelly bean salesman." He also didn't mind being referred to as "the candy man."
After 10 years as a widower he married Mildred Shannon, also a transplant from the Boston area. "Millie" passed away in 2007. As fate would have it, Jack was married for over 46 years to two women who had grown up not more than 3 miles from one another in the Boston suburbs and whose paths likely never crossed until they moved west.
Jack is survived by six children - John (Donna), Barbara Hoversen (Mike), Dennis (Dana), Nancy Zunich (Jack), Maureen Schopf (Greg), and Kevin (Barbara), 10 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. The final years of both his life and Millie's were enhanced by the devotion and kindness of his caregiver Jocelyn (Joy) Ipswitch and her family.
A mass and celebration of Jack's life will be held on June 21, 11AM at St. Anne's Catholic Church, 1600 Rossmoor Parkway, Walnut Creek, CA 94595. In lieu of flowers, donations are encouraged to St. Anne's Catholic Church.
Hull's Walnut Creek Chapel
1139 Saranap Avenue Walnut Creek, CA 94595
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from June 18 to June 19, 2014