William Daniel Bennett

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William D. Bennett of Lambert’s Cove died peacefully at home with his family on Feb. 15, 2024. He was 86.

Bill was born on Oct. 19, 1937, to Mary Frances Ahearn Bennett and William Taft Bennett of Yonkers, N.Y. He was the third of four children, with his brother Bob and sister Carole his older siblings, and his younger sister, Mary.

He graduated from St. Joseph’s Grammar School in 1951. As a member of the class of 1955 at Xavier High School in New York City, he was a member of the debate and dramatics society, as well as the chemistry and German clubs.

He was awarded a full-tuition scholarship for academic excellence to Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., from which he graduated in 1959. He was on the dean’s list for all four years, and graduated magna cum laude, with a bachelor of science in industrial relations. He served as class president, president of Alpha Sigma Nu — the Jesuit National Honor Society — and president of the Industrial Relations Association.

While at Le Moyne, he met Barbara Ann Gorski, an English literature major. They married on August 25, 1962, and enjoyed 61 years of marriage together. Their love and commitment to each other was cemented by the strength of their shared Catholic faith and love for their four children and six grandchildren.

In 1959 Bill joined the management development program at New York Telephone, and was assigned to projects at NYC landmarks, including the Guggenheim Museum, Westbeth, and the Metropolitan Opera.

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1960, and soon after graduated from Naval Officer Candidate School with distinction. He was assigned as communications officer on the U.S.S. Truckee, and later to Service Squadron 4, which was the replenishment force during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. He retired from active duty in 1964, and served as a captain in the Navy Reserves, based at Fort Schuyler in the Bronx, N.Y., until 1990. In addition, he assisted with candidate guidance for the U.S. Naval Academy.

He returned to N.Y. Telephone in 1964, and was later chosen by the company to receive a scholarship to the executive master’s in business administration from Columbia Business School at Columbia University. By 1980, he had risen to the role of assistant vice president of business services, and then assumed the role of transition director, responsible for the merger of New York and New England Telephone Co. business service forces.

Over the next two decades he held leadership positions at AT&T in the information systems, computer systems, corporate support services, and solutions divisions.

From 1970 to 2001, Bill and his family resided in Mountain Lakes, N.J., and were active in the St. Catherine of Siena parish. He was a member of the parish council, and taught in the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine program. He also volunteered at St. Francis Xavier Church in New York City in its outreach program, the Welcome Table.

The Bennetts began vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard in 1976, renting a friend’s home in Vineyard Haven. Bill loved afternoons at South Beach, the annual kite festival, and walks at Cedar Tree Neck.

In 2000, he and Barbara bought a house in Lambert’s Cove, and retired full-time to the Vineyard. They both became active members of Good Shepherd Parish. He was a member of the parish council, a lector, eucharistic minister, active member of the parish book club, and served as the financial manager for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, an outreach program. He was recognized for his services in 2008 when he was awarded the Marian Medal by the diocese of Fall River. He was also active as a volunteer at the Island Food Pantry, and with the Tisbury Council on Aging.

Bill is survived by his wife, Barbara Bennett; and their children, Elizabeth Bennett and her husband Mike, Courtney Bennett, Daniel W. Bennett and his wife Jessica, and David Bennett and his wife Page. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Bennett, Morgan, and Owen Collins, William and Samuel Bennett, and Hazel Bennett. He was predeceased by his parents and his older siblings. He is survived by his sister Maria Bennett of Yonkers.

His funeral will be held at St. Augustine Church in Vineyard Haven on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 10 am, with a reception in the church hall to follow.

Memorial contributions may be made to Xavier High School, online at xavierhs.org, and Island Food Pantry, online at igimv.org.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I was hired by the Bennet’s for landscape gardening work after they’d bought their home off Lambert’s Cove Rd. What I remember most about them was their commitment to foster/adopt retired guide dogs…and their willingness to let my sometimes muddy pups come in to the house for a belly rub and a treat. My condolences to Barbara, their kids and grandchildren, and his sister. He was a very kind, friendly man who made a significant contribution to this community. My former pups await him on the other side of the rainbow bridge, knowing he will toss the ball down the hill for them…

  2. I didn’t know Mr. Bennet but I wish I had. As a fellow Xavier alum I’d like to have found time to talk about the school.

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