James Stephen Bennett was born Aug. 9, 1919, in Wolf Summit, W.Va., a son of Ella Gay and Stephen Ernest Bennett. He married Naomi L. Lynch of Salem, W.Va., in 1943. He graduated from WVU with a B.S degree in agriculture, following active duty with the Army Air Force and was a proud veteran of World War II. He was employed in Ohio by the USDA Soil and Water Conservation Service as assistant state conservationist where he was inducted into the Ohio Conservationist Hall of Fame. He was appointed as state conservationist in West Virginia in 1970. He received the highest honor in a Fellow Recognition by the SCS of America, the USDA Super Service Award for Rural Development, was first gresident of the alumni association for the College of Agriculture and Forestry, served as chairman of the WVU Rural Progress Organization, was chairman of the membership vommittee of the West Virginia University Agricultural and Forestry Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Gamma Sigma Delta Honor society at WVU. He received the Distinguished Alumnus Award for the West Virginia University College of Agriculture and Forestry.
James and Naomi retired to Cape Coral in 1977 where he became chairman of the Kiwanis Environmental Conservation Committee. He established a Kiwanis Tree Identification Area at Jaycee Park and Tree Planning Days for Cape Coral; organized and was president of Cape Coral Beautification Committee; served as chairman of the Cape Coral Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for five years, played a major role in the formation of Kiwanis Gardens featuring a waterfall, handicap fishing pier and a gazebo at the entrance to Sun Splash. In 2003, he was nominated by Kiwanis as a candidate for Cape Coral Citizen of the Year.
He was preceded in death by his mother, father, seven brothers, three sisters and son-in-law.
James Stephen Bennett
He is survived by his loving wife of 71 years, Naomi Lee; daughters, Judy Chester, Marjorie Stephens, and son, Stephen Bennett (Karen); grandchildren, Meagan Hedrick (Michael), Mollie Weikert (Scott), Nathan Chester (Victoria), Lisa Wilcutt (Dave), Erin Wilson (Rob) and Jimmy Bennett (Katie); and great-grandchildren, Sydney and Mackenzie Hedrick, Bronwyn, Ella and Charlotte Weikert, Bode and Ryann Chester, Elijah and Benjamin Wilcutt, Tanner and Max Wilson, and Graham Bennett.
Interment will be at Union Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio.
A memorial celebration take place at Gulf Coast Village, Cape Coral at a later date.