Former THS music teacher Les Bennett dies at 90

Published:

Les Bennett died Nov. 4, 2012.

Mr. Bennett was born Aug. 7, 1922, in Janesville, Wis., the eldest of Leslie J. and Ruth E. Bennett's four children. The family was musical, and he began performing at an early age and never stopped.

After graduating from Fort Atkinson High School, he attended Milton College for two years, enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and piloted B-24s in the Pacific Theater. After his discharge, he attended the University of Wisconsin.

Although he earned a degree in agricultural engineering, he decided music was his true calling so he moved on to the University of Michigan before graduating from Eastern Michigan with a degree in music education. He then taught in various Michigan schools while earning a master's degree from Wayne State. He studied voice with Harold Haugh for many years and was a much sought after tenor.

Later, he taught in Toledo before teaching choral music for Tallmadge City Schools. He also directed choirs at St. Luke's Lutheran in Cuyahoga Falls and Tallmadge United Methodist Church.

A stroke in 1983 hastened his retirement from teaching, but he continued to organize Captain Brady Day and other activities in Brady Lake; singing in the Brady Lake Shoretet and participating in Portage County Retired Teachers Association.

In 1987, an auditorium at the former Tallmadge High School, which is now Tallmadge Middle School, was named the Les Bennett Center in the music teacher's honor for his work and efforts in the Tallmadge City School District.

In 2011, he moved to KentRidge on Golden Pond. He was a member of Kent United Methodist Church.

Mr. Bennett is survived by his wife, Karen, and sister, Patricia Germain of Madison, Wis.; children, Laura Lee of Redmond, Wash., Leslie Ann of New York City, Jeff of Oakland, Calif., David of Phoenix, Ariz., Greg of Akron, Brad of Stevensville, Md.; stepson, John Deem of Huntersville, N.C.; and nine grandchildren.

Memorials may be directed to Kent United Methodist Church, 1435 E. Main St., Kent 44240 or to WKSU, 1613 E. Summit, Kent 44242.

Donovan Bagnoli Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.