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William R. Bennett

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William Russell “Bill” Bennett’s dynamic approach to life was finally stopped by a force greater than he.  Bill passed away peacefully at 11:59 p.m. Feb. 19, 2022.

He was born on March 26, 1930, to Russell and Mabel Bennett in Richmond, Calif. Bill was so proud to be a true native Californian. He grew up in Hercules, Calif., and spent much of his youth on the San Pablo Bay. He spent his school years in Richmond.

Leaving school in 1948, Bill enlisted in the Coast Guard. He served honorably for four years and then spent the next nine years as a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Post Coast Guard, he worked for the Standard Oil Company in Richmond, Calif.

In 1963, he was offered an opportunity to help open a new refinery in Pascagoula, Miss. Bill never turned down an opportunity and moved his young family (Lynn 13, Bo 11, Rich 4, Mike 2 and infant Rob) to Bayou La Batre, Ala. After the refinery was successfully opened, he moved back to Pinole, Calif. He then became chief maintenance manager, working on the Bevatron at Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif. He worked there many years and finally retired in 1993.

Retirement did not slow him down a bit. He and his wife Verna spent many years traveling — going on cruises to Russia, Europe, Panama Canal and spending many summers on Vancouver Island fishing and boating. They also were docents at the Point Bonita Light House in the Marin Headlands. Bill taught several years at the Maritime Academy in Vallejo, Calif. Oceans and water were very important factors in his life. One of his greatest adventures on the water was crewing as an Able-Bodied Seaman on the Liberty Ship, the Jeremiah O’Brien, as she sailed from San Francisco to Normandy (and returned) to honor those who lost their lives on D-Day.

Bill lived a full and adventurous life. He will be greatly missed by family and friends. He loved his family very much, nothing showed this more than his care for his mother Mabel during her last years — he and Verna visited her every day to ensure that she was comfortable. We will miss his contagious smile and his wicked sense of humor.