John Connable Bennett, Jr. died on December 6, 2020, following a prolonged battle with Alzheimer’s illness. John’s Alzheimer’s expertise was troublesome and generally disagreeable however it wasn’t all dangerous, and it was definitely much less horrible than he thought it will be. Extra on that in a minute.
John was born in New York Metropolis in 1939 to John Connable Bennett (the Elder) and Eugenia Coleman Bennett, who have been much less formally generally known as “Jack” and “Gene.” For apparent causes, the Bennett household quickly traded in dreary outdated Manhattan for the glitz and glamour of Flourtown, PA.
John graduated from the Hotchkiss Faculty and Princeton College — each of which he liked — and Harvard Regulation Faculty, which he didn’t notably look after. Upon passing the bar in 1964, he took a job as a company affiliate at Drinker Biddle & Reath. John spent the subsequent 41 years on the agency, working his manner as much as companion, and scoring a candy nook workplace overlooking the Parkway in Drinker’s fancy new digs at One Logan Sq. earlier than his retirement in 2005.
John would have been reluctant to say any of the foregoing, and when you appeared impressed by his credentials, he would have shortly assured you that issues have been totally different again then, and none of these locations would have taken him at this time. We suspect that isn’t true. Regardless, John liked the establishments (besides Harvard) and tried to offer as a lot again to them as that they had given him. He served on the Hotchkiss Board of Trustees for roughly a decade, and faithfully attended his Princeton reunions, relishing the chance to meet up with outdated mates — notably his roommates Dusty Reeder and Mickey Michel. Between reunions, John’s vivid orange, Leroy Neiman-inspired Class of 1961 commemorative blazer doubled as stage attire for his son’s bandmate, the Washington, D.C. punk rock singer John “Stabb” Schroeder — a widely known connoisseur of garish clothes. John Bennett was nonplussed. “Inform him I’m actually going to wish that jacket again for my thirtieth,” he’d say worriedly.
Though he didn’t a lot look after punk rock, John liked music. He was an enormous Beatles fan till they acquired “bizarre” at which level he switched allegiances to the Monkees. (No one had the center to inform him they acquired bizarre, too). John was a proud member of The Orpheus Membership of Philadelphia, although — or perhaps as a result of — they made him play a French maid each time he participated in The Twelfth Evening Revels, the membership’s comedic musical revue. John attributed the typecasting to his 6’5” peak however it may simply as simply have been as a result of his lengthy legs regarded nice in fishnet stockings.
John additionally liked sports activities. You’ll have heard about how he out-sprinted his older cousin Tad Mahan to safe victory for the Pocono Lake Protect reds within the 1951 Woolman Day race. He ran observe and performed basketball at Hotchkiss and was on the Cottage Membership crew group at Princeton. He even rowed on the famed Henley Regatta — his boat sank which, through the years, he determined was the very best final result aside from successful. Weekend mornings have been dedicated to tennis and paddle tennis along with his mates Tom Fernley, Binky Wurts, and Gary Pearson. A fierce competitor, John usually injured himself in his quest for victory — just like the time he ran by means of the chain hyperlink fence. Or the a number of cases through which Gary — who was just a little bit higher than all people else — by accident drilled him within the glasses with the ball. Or the innumerable events upon which he “rowelled out” his again stretching for a shot and needed to take to his mattress with an arsenal of icepacks. Irrespective of how extreme the damage, John was all the time again on the court docket the next weekend so he didn’t depart his buddies with out a fourth.
Submit-Alzheimer’s prognosis, the spotlight of John’s week was Males’s Golf at Sunnybrook, the place his loyal mates would preserve him pointed in the precise path and help with ball-spotting. A contented upside of John’s sickness was that his golf recreation improved significantly. If you happen to requested him why, he’d grin and say, “I forgot that I’m a awful golfer.”
What John liked most, although, was his household. He was tickled — to make use of a phrase he employed not occasionally — to go from being an solely youngster to a father of 5, grandfather of 14, and great-grandfather of 1 (and counting, knock on wooden). On household holidays, you would discover him sitting quietly in a snug chair, taking within the chaos with a contented smile on his face.
John would let you know that the perfect factor he ever did was marry Hope Latta. They noticed The Graduate on their first date in 1968 and a whirlwind courtship ensued, culminating in a Saturday morning drive right down to lovely Elkton, Maryland for spontaneous nuptials. They have been again in Philadelphia by Midday. Over the subsequent 52 years, they raised 5 youngsters, renovated at the least six homes, planted award-winning gardens, and biked by means of most of Western Europe — all the time collectively. John was in awe of Hope’s power and willpower, and she or he liked his form, light spirit. They have been an awesome group.
That teamwork continued throughout John’s sickness. Hope chauffeured him to numerous medical doctors’ appointments, enrolled him in experimental drug trials, and deliberate actions for him to ensure he didn’t turn into remoted. John, for his half, tried to remain constructive. He was uncharacteristically open with individuals — together with relative strangers — about how he was feeling. He cultivated an alter ego — Johnny Alzheimers, the Dementia Comic — who had a seemingly countless provide of humorous, albeit darkish, one liners (e.g., CHILD: Hey Dad. How are you? JOHN: [pause for comedic effect]. I do not know. [Cracks up].). Even after getting sick, John went on nice journeys along with his youngsters and their households, together with a jaunt to the Loire Valley, the place he managed a somewhat death-defying 15-mile bike journey. And he maintained his dignity and talent to speak meaningfully up till the very finish.
Particular person experiences will undoubtedly range, however when you or somebody you like is identified with Alzheimer’s, don’t quit. We’re grateful to the wonderful Foulkeways workers at Abington North and Gwynedd Terrace who took such excellent care of John and helped him stay his closing days with grace and respect.
Along with Hope, John is survived by his daughters Bradley Clements, Gail Redpath, and Leslie Haddow, his sons Chris and Hunter Bennett, his grandchildren Brooks Russell, Metal Russell, Amelia Moore, Jack Moore, Emily Haddow, Oliver Haddow, Jackson Bennett, Lila Bennett, Riley Redpath, Sydney Redpath, Finley Redpath, Charlie Bennett, Colin Bennett, and Hadley Bennett, and his great-granddaughter Poppy Russell. Bonus children-in-law embrace (and, so far as we all know, are restricted to) Jon Moore, Bruce Redpath, Craig Haddow, Julie Bennett, and Annie Bennett. Studying that listing would have made him completely happy.
We’re hoping to have some kind of service or celebration of John’s life when it’s protected to take action. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the charity of your selection. Or do one thing good for any person. Or perhaps simply crank “Daydream Believer” as much as 11 and sing alongside.