Virginia NOW celebrates the life of John Bennett
Published in The Washington Post on Jan. 7, 2018
JOHN C. BENNETT, JR. (Age 84) Of Alexandria, Virginia, passed away on December 29, 2017.
He was born on September 9, 1933, in Carlisle, Arkansas, to the late Stella Strahan and John Carrick Bennett. He graduated from Little Rock High School in 1951, and American University (Washington, DC) in 1961. He served honorably as a private first class in the U.S. Army and later joined the federal civil service, initially employed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Atlanta, Georgia, and New York City. He retired from the civil service in 2005, following more than four decades of commitment to fighting employment discrimination as a compliance officer with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance programs in Washington, DC.
John was a dedicated, long-term feminist, having joined the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City shortly after its founding in the late 1960's. His commitment to women's rights and equality continued during the following years in various activities and programs undertaken in the New York City and Capitol Hill (DC) NOW chapters.
John is survived by Carol A. Kalinoski, his best friend, colleague, companion, soulmate, and wife of almost fourty seven years whom he met in New York City NOW and later joined him as an activist in NOW in both New York City and Washington, DC. John is survived by four children: John III, Stella, Adrienne (Dever) and Joanna (Smith). Seven grandchildren also survive him as does his brother, Don of Little Rock, Arkansas.
An avid animal lover all his life, John will be missed by five sphynx cats, especially his favorite, Baroness Bleu, and three Pomeranians, all of whom were honored to share his life and his bed. John always sought to live in the moment and to the fullest.
Besides his family, John had two major passions in his life. One was his love of foreign travel. In the early 1960's, he drove through Europe to Moscow in a VW beetle with a Soviet minder whom he had to pick up at the Soviet border. In his halcyon years, he also enjoyed doing home exchanges with people around the world, particularly the U.K., Austria, and Mexico, many of whom have become friends. In his final years, he accompanied his wife, Carol, on her assignments for the State Department in the Balkans and the Middle East.
And how can one not mention his other passion: cars and all things automotive! During his lifetime, John owned and tinkered with several cars of all types and loved to talk about cars with anyone who was interested in them. He especially loved his Mom's yellow 1977 Mercury Grand Marquis which lovingly became known as "The Banana Boat".
His wife, Carol, appreciates and thanks the staffs of Cherrydale Rehab and Nursing Home in Arlington, Va., and Capital Caring hospice for their care, comfort, and kindness extended to John and his family during his final illness.
Arrangements, including a veteran's service, made by Everly-Wheatley, Alexandria, VA. On-line condolences and fond memories may be offered at: http://www.everlywheatley.com/tributes/John-Bennett. Services will be held at Everly Wheatley Funeral Home followed by an interment at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alexandria Welfare League of Alexandria or Capital Caring of Falls Church, VA.
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