Obituary of Robert Peter Bennett
The “Greatest Generation” lost one of its last survivors. Robert Peter Bennett of Freehold, New Jersey, passed away on November 4th, one month shy of his 99th birthday. His old-fashioned values, work ethic, common sense, love of country, “fortitude and gumption” live on, ingrained into three generations.
Revolving his life around family, he was rewarded with the love of each family member: daughters, Kathleen Bennett and her partner, Patrick McFadden, Barbara Nagle and husband, Dan, Jeanne Bennett with husband, Bruce Clements, Linda Ciufo with husband, John, and son, Paul Bennett with wife, Jill, and daughter-in-law, Heidi Jones Bennett (deceased). He also has the respect, love, and frequent visits by the younger generation: grandchildren, Daniel Nagle and his wife, Ashley, Kaity Camano and husband, Chris, Thomas Nagle and his partner, Triston Simons, T.J. Ciufo, Maggie Ciufo and her partner, Lee Manalang, Elyse Burch and husband, Jared, Amy Santos and husband, Ryan; niece, Jane Boyle; plus, his great-grandchildren, Emmett Camano and Bennett Burch, whom he cherished as only a grandfather can. Bob was a favorite of many people outside the family, earning the name “Pop” which he enjoyed living -proof of his steadfast, unique character and willingness to enlarge his love and advice to include many.
Bob is predeceased by his life-long wife and ski partner, Margaret Item Bennett, and his sisters, Edith Phillips and Grace Heck, and their husbands, as well as his favorite nephew, Peter Heck and niece, Susan Lane.
He received a BS degree in biology from St. Peter’s College in Jersey City and was a founding member of the Co-Cathedral of St. Robert Bellarmine in Freehold. A WW2 Army Air Corps veteran, he was an aviation enthusiast, building and flying radio-controlled airplanes as a member of the Mercer County R/C club.
Bob had a simple but firm reliance on tradition, faith, family, and self-reliance during his exceptionally long life and witnessed many changes: from horse-drawn delivery trucks to space station shuttles, the Great Depression, internet, and email (which he learned in his 80’s). Until last month, he rode his tricycle around the neighborhood and mowed his own lawn. He created the legacy of ‘stay a family’ with reunions, dinners together, chocolate, and helping one another. His was a successful life. The world is a much better place for him being in it. The center of family life, it is hard to know how to go on without him, yet he leaves so much of himself behind to influence the lives of those who knew him well. He said of death; “It’s my next great adventure!” You’ve got your wings Pop, fly on.
A memorial gathering will be held at the Clayton & McGirr Funeral Home, 100 Elton-Adelphia Road (Route 524), Freehold Township on Thursday, November 9, 2023 from 4:00 to 8:00 PM. Relatives and friends are invited to his 10:30 AM Funeral Mass on Friday, November 10, 2023 at the Co-Cathedral of St. Robert Bellarmine, 61 Georgia Road, Freehold Township. Inurnment will be private. For those who cannot attend in person, the family invites you to participate via Webcast, HERE. For those who desire, memorial contributions may be made to The Commemorative Air Force, Development Office, PO Box 764769, Dallas, TX 75376 or HERE. For information, directions or condolence messages to the family, visit www.claytonfuneralhome.com.