George Bennett (April 30, 1932-August 17, 2023) was born in Weir, Kansas, and spent much of his life in Waterloo, Iowa, serving as Vice President of Adult Continuing Education and Community Services - Hawkeye Institute of Technology. He passed peacefully at John Knox Village in Weslaco, Texas, with family at his side.
George was a commanding officer in the U.S. Army achieving the rank of captain, but his true passion was adult education. After leaving the Army, he graduated college with a degree in Industrial Education and a master's degree in Administration and Supervision of Vocational Education. He taught vocation machine shop then headed the adult and vocational education program in central Kansas before moving to Topeka to serve as the State Supervisor of Area Vocational-Technical Schools.
He became the first Adult Education director to be employed by an Iowa Community College after the creation of the statewide system in 1966. He was instrumental in the greater vocational education field. George served as president of many state educational organizations and was a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association for Public Continuing and Adult Education. He received many prestigious awards, accolades, and recognition both regionally and nationally in the educational field, as well as rotary club and other community civic programs. His 26-year career at Hawkeye was spent expanding the college and guiding the Institute's many projects and programs.
He was not the loudest speaker in the room, but was the most respected, and revered for his leadership style and his ability to see the potential in every individual that he interacted with. He empowered individuals through building their confidence. One employee commented of George, "You have the ability to let your staff use their full potential. That's a gift of true leadership. You guide and encourage but leave enough slack to let them do their very best".
George was raised in a family full of love, so when he married Dorothy Scott in 1950, he was a natural at being a wonderful husband, father, and super grandpa! They built a cabin on Holiday Lake in Iowa, where they fished and enjoyed the outdoors. Upon retiring, they made that their summer home when they weren't traveling. Winters were spent in Donna, Texas. They later moved back to Kansas, then to the Rio Grande Valley in Texas full-time.
In retirement, George also continued his love of wood carving (of which he had exceptional talent), golfing, and bowling - and still did them all at 91! He and Dorothy always loved traveling and many memories were made with their children and grandchildren, taking them many places. George had a love of history and music and he enjoyed reciting stories and singing folk songs.
He was a truly humble man and enriched so many lives. He will be greatly missed by all those who had the opportunity to know George.
He is survived by two children Bruce Bennett (Billie Lenz) and Linda Briggs (Tim); three grandchildren, Christina Manship, Brian Briggs, and Chris Briggs; three great-grandchildren, Chance Manship, Stella and Paisley Briggs; one sibling, James (Marlene) Bennett.
George was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years Dorothy, parents George and Effie Bennett, and siblings Ida Jane Kreeger, Vivian Kidd, and David Bennett.
Per George's wishes, he will be cremated with no service held. His ashes will be spread in a private gathering of immediate family later this year. To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of George Bennett, please visit our floral store.