Clarence W. Bennett, Jr. G’63 died on October 2, 2021, in Belgrade Lakes, Maine.
(The following was provided by the Central Maine on October 17, 2021)
BELGRADE LAKES – Clarence William “Rusty” Bennett Jr. died peacefully at his home on Lakeshore Drive in Belgrade Lakes on Oct. 2, 2021, nearly 93 years after arriving on the planet.
Born in Kingfield on Oct. 19, 1928, Rusty grew up in Quincy, Mass., with his younger brother, Frederick “Fred” Louis Bennett, who predeceased Rusty by about seven years. Their father, Clarence Bennett, died quite young from a work-related illness when Rusty and Fred were three and one year(s) old, respectively.
Their mother, Lydia (Bearce) Bennett, worked tirelessly to raise the two brothers in Quincy’s (Mass.) Hough’s Neck neighborhood, where they made lifelong friends.
Rusty was married to his beloved wife, Edna Louise (Langley) “Mahzo” Bennett for more than fifty years, until her death twelve years ago, and they enjoyed many adventures traveling the world together.
Rusty was the proud father to eight children, seven of which are living, Kathleen O’Connor and husband Mark, Robert Bennett and wife Martha, John Bennett and wife Katie, Anne Marie Bennett, Peter Bennett (deceased), Patricia Gilson and husband Jeff, Thomas Bennett, and Mary Beth Woodward and husband Dave. He also leaves a dozen beloved grandchildren; and an awesome great-grandchild.
Rusty and Edna lived most of their lives in Westwood, Mass., and Belgrade Lakes, with a decade or so at the Huntington Assisted Living complex in Nashua, N.H., and several years in Anchorage, Alaska.
Rusty enlisted in the Marines toward the end of World War II, and was stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif. A gifted football player (end), he held receiving records for Quincy High School in the 1940s, and went on to play football for Villanova, the University of Massachusetts, and American International College.
He was very proud to attain four higher education degrees: a bachelor’s degree, two master’s degrees and a doctorate – all in education. He taught high school math and coached football before accepting a position with the State of Maine Department of Education for mathematics education. Before leaving employment with the State of Maine, he and Edna purchased a small lot of land on Long Pond in Belgrade Lakes. A knotty pine house erected by Sven Hansen on this lot became the summer camp for the Bennett family beginning in the mid-’60s and, after an addition was built, was where Rusty spent his final years.
He had long career of teaching mathematics and math education at Brookline High School, Boston State College, Westfield State College, University of Alaska – Anchorage, Concordia University in Montreal (several summers), and the University of Maine at Farmington. He worked most summers and claimed that his favorite summer job was as a lifeguard for a beer vat at a brewery in Massachusetts.
He and Edna made great friends both locally and from around the world through their travels. They enjoyed playing whist with other couples on a regular basis. Rusty attended many of his children’s sporting events and took great pride that sons Jay and Tom were separately elected captains of the Westwood High School football team, with Tom’s team winning the state Superbowl for its division.
Blessed with a great sense of humor, and despite a strong measure of pride, he never took himself too seriously. When called on the phone and asked if this was Rusty, he would generally respond, “this is himself, himself, [pause one second], himself.” And then the amusing nonsense would continue as caller and “himself” would continue, for example with, “is this son of himself, himself, [pause], himself?”
Rusty loved sports and was a total Boston “homer” for the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, and his beloved Patriots, where he attended most games in Foxborough during the Pat’s lean years. He attended the game one Red Sox World Series win in 2004. He formed a weekly pick-‘em football pool for the family decades ago, and participated weekly with his picks right to the end. There are still twelve players continuing the traditional annual competition for the Mahzo Trophy (visualize a small statue with a cutout of an Edna Glamour picture glued on, with ski’s added on by brother Jay).
Rusty greatly enjoyed life, his family, and his home on Long Pond in Belgrade Lakes. He will be missed by family and friends.