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1930 - 2017 Obituary Condolences Gallery
BENNETT, Dr. John W. "Bill" 86, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 while convalescing at the home of family members. He was born in Holyoke, MA on November 23, 1930, the son of the late William A. and Eva (Lafond) Bennett. John grew up in Holyoke, MA and graduated from Holyoke High School in 1948. John had a BA from the University of Massachusetts, an MA from Yale University and a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh and did graduate work at Brown University and UMass Amherst. John served in the U.S. Army from 1953 - 1955. John was a labor educator at Indiana University and SUNY Empire State College. He was the Labor Historian for the Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council and an executive Board member of Western Massachusetts Jobs with Justice. A former mathematics teacher at the Springfield High School of Commerce, he joined the American Federation of Teachers in 1958 and was an AFT member of five different locals. He was President of the Springfield Federation of Teachers in the 1960's and Vice President of the Massachusetts Federation of Teachers and the Pioneer Valley Central Labor Council in the early 1970's. A member of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council since 2000 John held several offices at state and local levels, including President of the State Council and of the Springfield Chapter. John was a member and former chair of the Social Work Advisory Board at Elms College. He was also a member of, chair of, treasurer of and active in many other clubs, boards and councils. He established scholarships at UMass Amherst, Elms College and Springfield Technical Community College and donated a large collection of labor memorabilia to UMass Amherst (The John W. Bennett Labor Memorabilia Collection). In addition to being an avid philanthropist, John has been a lifelong activist dedicated to Democratic values, causes and candidates and was a full-fledged organizer, rabble rouser and demonstrator. He has served as a role model to countless people who have gone on to work for the common good. John was also a communicant and long-time member of the choir at Sacred Heart Church in Springfield. n addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his wife of 22 years, Mary T. Killeen-Bennett on May 5, 2000 as well as by his half-brother, Francis Bennett. John is survived by a brother, Robert H. Bennett (Beatrice) of Highlands Ranch, CO, his nephew William F. Bennett (Kevin Wallace) of London, England, and nieces Elizabeth M. Aparicio (David) of Littleton, CO, Ann C. Westra (Steve) of Englewood, CO and Jeanine E. Couvillon (Jason) of League Houston, TX, 7 great nephews and 1 great niece along with numerous cousins, among them Anne Kusekoski and Jane Donovan who have provided John with great care and support over the past few years. The calling hours will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 20, 2017 in the Corridan Funeral Home, 333 Springfield St., CHICOPEE. Everyone is invited to gather for John's Funeral Mass on Monday, August 21st at 11 a.m. in Sacred Heart Church, 395 Chestnut St., Springfield. Burial will follow in St. Michael's Cemetery, Springfield. Memorial contributions may be made to Passionist Volunteers International, 111 South Ridge Street, Suite 302, Rye Brook, NY 10573 or Mass Senior Action Council (MSAC), 108 Myrtle Street #112, Quincy, MA 02171.
Published in The Boston Globe on Aug. 20, 2017
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