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George Mertz Bennett


GEORGE MERTZ BENNETT
January 5, 1924 ~ April 7, 2014

George Bennett passed away April 7, 2014, at his residence in Battle Ground, WA. He was born in Los Angeles, CA, Jan. 5, 1924, to George M. Bennett, Sr. and Burdetta (Knowles) Bennett. George and his brother and sister were orphaned April 20, 1930, as a result of an auto collision with an oil tanker truck. His grandparents moved the children to southern Oregon where he grew up on a farm and graduated from Grants Pass High School.
George enlisted in the U. S. Navy in 1941 and dreamed of being a sailor, as his father had been. He was drawn to the romance of the sea. The Navy took note of his small stature and made him a radioman/gunner in an airplane crew. He was sent to Pearl Harbor in September and was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked Dec. 7, 1941. During the war, he earned many combat ribbons including the Distinguished Flying Cross. His service, totaling 40 years in the Navy and the Naval Reserves, made him a loyal American patriot.
Following the war, George worked for Western Union, then the Union Pacific Railroad in communications from 1949 - 1983. At the time of his retirement, he was manager of the former depot at Hinkle, near Hermiston, OR. In Hermiston, George was active in the First Christian Church, the Masonic Lodge and Eastern Star, Maxwell Siding Railroad Museum, the VFW, the Boy Scouts of America, and Toastmasters. After moving to Battle Ground, he joined Toastmasters and became very active in the Vancouver chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, now the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors. George rose through the officer ranks of his chapter and became the President of the local chapter and was the final National Secretary of the PHSA.
During the war, George was married to Patricia McMurdo and had one daughter. They were divorced and he was subsequently married to Barbara Stotts for over 50 years and had another daughter and a son. Following Barbara's death, George moved to Battle Ground and found love again. He was married in February 2014 to Donna Higgins.
George will be dearly missed by his widow, Donna; his daughters, Jane Higgins, and Eileen Laramore; his son, Mike Bennett; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Stanley Bennett; his sister, Opal Bennett Tice; and his wife, Barbara.
A memorial service will be held Tues., May 6th, at 11:00 a.m., at Layne's Funeral Home in Battle Ground, followed by a light luncheon. Interment will be at Willamette National Cemetery at 3:00 p.m. with full military honors.
Please sign his guest book at: www.columbian.com/obits.

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Published in The Columbian on Apr. 27, 2014
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