Richard (Dick) Bennett, 85, of Alamo, died Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, following a short battle with cancer. A United States Marine Corps veteran, Dick took great pride in his faith in God, and his love of country, family, and community. Dick grew up in Mulberry, Indiana, and joined the Marine Corps after high school, serving as a telegraph operator. He then attended Purdue University and, after graduation, set off on a career as an aviation maintenance professional. He also became a private pilot.
Dick and wife Susan married in 1975, bringing together two families with five children: Rita, Mike, and Brian Bennett, and Chris and Cory Olsen. Their devotion to each other paired with the importance of keeping family close, served them well for over 47 years of marriage. Dick's face lit up whenever he saw his eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and listened to their stories. Dick was proud to serve as a commissioned Stephen Minister, and as Elder during his time as a member at Lakeland Reformed Church in Vicksburg. He dedicated 35 years working for The Upjohn Company, and during this time worked as an advisor with Purdue University to embolden their aviation maintenance curriculum. He was a recipient of the coveted Upjohn Award, Cessna's Vern Lowe Award, and the Joe Chase 50 years in Aviation Maintenance award presented by the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA), in which he was an active member. Bennett continued to work in aviation for his first few years of retirement as a maintenance and logistics consultant for Kalamazoo-based companies, but soon turned his passion for volunteering toward Alamo Township, his place of residence since 1991. Soon the township planning commission came calling and brought with it many projects to focus on. During that time, he added park ranger, park board member, and election board member to his list of duties. Bennett formed strong friendships with township neighbors, which led to the creation of The Alamo Foundation, of which he served as the founding treasurer. The foundation continues to pride itself on helping with the unmet needs of township residents and projects. A lifelong hunter, Bennett shared his love of the outdoors and whitetail deer hunting with his children and grandchildren. Many hours were spent in the fields and woods of West Michigan, with evenings around the dining room table discussing wind direction, scent, and tips to ensure that shots of only the highest percentages would be taken. His keen attention to detail and passion for sharing decades of experience led him to partner with the Michigan DNR as a Hunter's Safety Instructor. Richard was preceded in death by son, Brian Bennett in 1982; father, John William Bennett in WWII; and mother and stepfather, Louella and Harold Stewart. He is survived by his wife Susan Bennett; children Rita Robertson (Jim), Michael Bennett (Jill), Chris Olsen (Amanda), and Cory Olsen (Cherie); brothers Robert Bennett (Carol), and James Stewart (Faith); and sister Rosemary Dyer (Todd); grandchildren Korbin, Collyn (Maggie), and Gavin Bennett, Sawyer and Trent Olsen, Emmelia, Jacob, and Gabriella Olsen; great-grandchildren Mateo Olsen and Banks Bennett; many special nieces and nephews; and former wife Mary Barbee. Friends may visit with Dick's family from 6-8 PM, Tuesday, November 7, 2023, at the Winkel Funeral Home, Otsego, where a funeral service will take place at 10:30 A.M., Wednesday, November 8, 2023, with Pastor Jason Olson officiating. Burial will take place at 2:00 P.M., at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Augusta. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation made to The Alamo Foundation (thealamofoundation.com) or Rose Arbor Hospice of Kalamazoo (centricacare.org). Messages of condolence may be posted at WinkelFuneralHome.com.