The heavens rejoice as another good and faithful servant has come home to the kingdom of God. On June 20, 2013, after a valiant battle with lung cancer and just four days shy of his 90th birthday, the angels welcomed Donald Jerome Bennett with open arms. He was born in San Francisco on June 24, 1923 to parents Cyril and Caroline Bennett. Six years later his brother Gene was born and they resided in a little home at the foot of Mt. Davidson in S.F. Then came the Great Depression and when his dad's employer, Western Union, closed down in 1930 the family moved to a small ranch in Jackson, CA just out of Sacramento in what is known as the Mother Lode Country. Growing up on the ranch during the Depression, they had relatively nothing and lived off the land which is probably where he got his love of hunting, fishing, cutting firewood and trapping. He recalled selling his rabbit and fox furs to Sears & Roebuck, who was in the fur business at that time, for .10 each. He remembers that in winter when they couldn't afford socks they would wrap their feet in pieces of burlap sacks to keep them warm. He attended grade school in an old schoolhouse and to get there he literally did walk three miles a day each way on a dirt road. He skipped the 5th grade and graduated at 12 years old to go to Jackson High School. In his junior year he met our mom Marjorie Briscoe. Dad said he would walk 8 miles into town on a Saturday afternoon just to go to the movies with her.
In 1941 he took a job with PG&E as an operator of several powerhouses. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1942 and left for World War II in the South Pacific. While there he contracted malaria, dengue fever, cat fever and jaundice but he was none the worse for wear. He returned home in 1945 and married his Margie in January 1946. Dad decided he wanted to work as a dental technician and began training in a small dental lab in Jackson. A few years later he heard about an opening for a dental tech in Chico. By then, he and Mom had a son Gary and daughter Gloria and the family moved to Chico in 1952 and Dad opened his dental lab. In 1954 they moved to Redding where he opened an even bigger lab. Dad's quality work and expertise were so wellknown that he once went 8 years with no time off, due to his high demand. It was in their first years in Redding that their son Gary was shot and killed by a neighbor boy at only 8 years old. Wracked with grief, they decided to have another child and ended up having four more children in 4-1/2 years!
In the early 60's, Dad sold his dental lab and opened a credit bureau and collection agency in Redding which he worked until his retirement in 1987. He and Mom bought an RV and did a lot of traveling. After her death in 2007 Dad continued with his love of fishing, hunting and cutting firewood. He had a lifelong respect and love for nature and so enjoyed the outdoors.
Diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago, Dad didn't let that stop him. He was an active member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church and a Past Grand Knight and Past Faithful Navigator 4th Degree in the Knights of Columbus, Past President of Northern California Collectors' Association, a life member of the Elks, Past Post Commander of VFW Post 4284, and a volunteer at Mercy Hospital. Up until his last couple weeks, he was still joining his cronies every Thursday evening at the Elks Club where they would roll dice for drinks and then have dinner. He never missed a Sunday Mass or holy day at church. During his last months, he was constantly surrounded by family and friends. On Father's Day we were all blessed to spend time with him at a big family celebration, not knowing the end was so close. He passed peacefully at home four days later.
Don is preceded in death by his loving wife Margie and son Gary who happily await this reunion. He leaves behind his children Gloria Breedlove, Eileen Hartley, Diane Morris, Jim Bennett and Sue Kinyon, 16 grandchildren and 5 greatgrandchildren.
He was a sweet and gentle man of the highest integrity, a devoted husband, father and provider, a proud Marine and a faithful servant to the Lord. Semper Fi…always faithful.
A Rosary will be held at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Redding on Friday, July 5, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. A Mass of Christian burial will be held at the same place on Saturday, July 6 at 10:00 a.m. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph's School or the charity of your choice . We invite you to come and share the memories and joy of knowing this wonderful man.
Please sign the guest book.
Arrangements handled through Allen & Dahl Funeral Chapel in Redding (243-1525).