Ankeny Funeral Home & Crematory

1510 West First Street, Ankeny, IA


Carroll Bennett

September 8, 1936June 11, 2019
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Carroll L. Bennett of Ankeny, Iowa, was born in Newton, Iowa on September 8, 1936. He passed away from an unexpected cardiac event on June 11, 2019 at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines. Carroll is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary Jo (Peitzman) Bennett. He is also survived by four sons:

• Steven Bennett (Kristi) of Ankeny, their children: Andrew Bennett (Amber) of Ankeny and Hannah Behrens (Scott) of Ames. Andrew Bennett has two daughters, Gwenivere and Arwen.

• Scott Bennett (Karin) of Ankeny, their children: Jacob Bennett of Windsor Heights and Ellen Bennett of Des Moines.

• Michael Bennett (Michelle) of Ankeny, their children: Iris Bennett of Raleigh, North Carolina; Nat Bennett of Des Moines; Ethan Bennett of Iowa City; and Calen Bennett of Ankeny.

• Mark Bennett (Colleen) of Appleton, Wisconsin; their children: Colton Bennett of Atlanta, Georgia; Kate Bennett of Providence, Rhode Island; and Kyle Bennett of Appleton, Wisconsin.

Carroll was preceded in death by his parents, Erskine and Vina Bennett, and his brother, James Bennett (all of Newton, Iowa).

Carroll was very content with his life and attributed much of that to his family and friends. In 2002, he wrote:

"I want to make it clear that I’ve had a wonderful life – challenging, fulfilling, exciting and wonderful in every way. Few people I’ve known have traveled as much as Mary Jo and me, have as many grandkids, have four families they see often, love to be with their kids and grandkids, and have friends near and far that we love to be with and see. I don’t know if it could be better than it has been.

The first 18 years were exceptional mostly due to having two fine parents and a good extended family that was loving and supportive. The years since that were glorious because of Mary Jo – her love, understanding, patience, support, and stability. Without her, my life would have been very different, and far short of what it became."

Carroll attended the University of Iowa, and earned both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees there. He received a scholarship from the Maytag Foundation which allowed him to attend college. He was always very grateful for Maytag’s support – he knew how much it had changed his life. To give others the same opportunity that he experienced, Carroll and Mary Jo established the Bennett Family Scholarship at DMACC to fund tuition for deserving students. Carroll and Mary Jo met on a blind date to church while both at the University of Iowa in 1955. They had many happy memories of their time together in Iowa City including forming many lifelong friendships.

Carroll and Mary Jo were marvelous parents to their four sons. The boys particularly remember Saturday morning “Adventures” with Dad, which frequently involved trips to the railyard or the State Historical Building and usually ended with lunch at the downtown Des Moines Younkers coffee shop.

Carroll’s entire career was devoted to education. He valued it for himself, and he valued it for others. He began his career teaching in Estherville, Iowa and Ames, Iowa, then joined the small team starting the Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny in 1967. He spent 30 years with DMACC in various leadership positions – one special opportunity was helping to form and open the DMACC campus in Newton, Iowa.

In 1972, Carroll was awarded a fellowship to the Washington Internship in Education program that brought a year in Washington, D.C. and an experience that would help him to grow his career. Also during his time at DMACC, Carroll led a delegation to Stavropol, Russia to visit their sister college. Even in retirement, Carroll was devoted to DMACC. He worked with a group of ‘DMACC Pioneers’ to help document the 50-year history of the community college. At the time of his death, he was working with a committee to document the Stavropol visit.

For many years, he served on accreditation teams with the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. After retiring from DMACC, he and his business partner Jane Hunter consulted with colleges seeking to acquire or retain accreditation from North Central.

Carroll and Mary Jo enjoyed more than 20 years of retirement together visiting 49 states (missing Hawaii, which, curiously, he never had a desire to visit) and 59 countries, including most of Europe, China, Vietnam, Russia, Japan, Egypt, New Zealand, and South Africa. He loved to visit with friends near and far, and was known for having to be nudged along from conversations with anyone he met along the way. The best times were to be found with family, and many of his travels were for family births, weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and countless graduations. Carroll was exceptionally proud of the achievements of all of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and enjoyed spending time with all of his family.

Across the years, Carroll was proud to serve on many boards. At various times, he was on the Ankeny School Board, the Ankeny Library Board, the board at Mercy College of Health Sciences, the Skiff Medical Center in Newton, and Wesley Retirement Services. He was also a member of Rotary Club, served as president for a term, and helped out in other roles, including playing piano on many a meeting day.

While Carroll’s vocation was education, his avocation has always been music. He learned piano from a young age, and played throughout his life. To make extra money in college, he even played in a dance band. When children and grandchildren came along, there were funny songs to play and sing, like “Mr. Touchdown” and “The Choo-Choo Song.” Carroll also had a lifelong enjoyment of music as an audience member, and he loved attending live Broadway shows, symphony performances, and operas.

As for day-to-day life, Carroll enjoyed many of the little things, like coffee. To the confusion of family members, he even drank it with pizza. Days were always better when they started with coffee, and quite a few times, restaurant exits were delayed for “just finishing this cup.” Another daily ‘must’ for Carroll was reading. He especially enjoyed biographies, and found a warm welcome and many books at the library. Aside from reading, a frequent activity was photography; many a get-together was interrupted for a request to family to arrange themselves into the designated space. And with all of that travel, multiple scrapbooks and albums were filled with exotic photos. If Carroll wasn’t taking photos of family, he could often be found playing cribbage with them. He taught many of the grandchildren how to play, and they knew they’d done well if they occasionally won a game against Papa.

To everyone who knew him (and there are legions), Carroll showed interest and caring, and he formed permanent connections and friendships on what would seem to be the most ephemeral foundations. We’re sure he would have liked nothing better than to inspire others to do the same.

Friends and family are invited to a memorial gathering celebrating his life on Sunday, June 23 at the Ankeny Funeral Home with a visitation from 2:00 - 4:00 pm, and a service to follow at 4:00.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts can be made to the Des Moines Area Community College Foundation for the Bennett Family Scholarship either online at https://www.dmacc.edu/foundation/Pages/makeagift.aspx or by sending cash or check to: DMACC Foundation, ATTN: Shelby Nelson, 2006 S. Ankeny Blvd., Bldg. 22, Ankeny, IA 50023. Please make a note that the donation should be designated for the Bennett Family Scholarship in memory of Carroll Bennett.


  • Visitation Sunday, June 23, 2019
  • Memorial Service Sunday, June 23, 2019


Carroll Bennett

have a memory or condolence to add?

Terry Van Oort

June 23, 2019

Carroll was simply an ambassador of goodwill. Whenever I saw his name on my schedule I knew I was in for a real treat. He was always present in conversation, listening and responding with his eyes as much as his voice. His boundless inspiration and motivation were so special.

This wasn't limited to direct physical contact, but his cards with travel photos, and especially his letters of encouragement when I was on sabbatical, were particularly timely. I am forever grateful. Thank you, Carroll, your boundless zeal for life lives on!

Paul Ruggle

June 22, 2019

Carroll was a wonderful man and it was an honor to be his co-chair for the Skiff Hospice Unit remodeling project.
My friend, Dr. Terry Van Oort and I alternated as his family physician depending on where he was living and we both regarded him as great guy and ideal patient.
His postcards from distant lands were always treasured. I won’t be able to attend his services as I am on call but am keeping family and friends foremost in my thoughts.

Bob Peitzman

June 21, 2019

We were always so blessed to be able to share a meal and a story or two with Carroll when he and Mary Jo would trek out to California (nearly annually!). The world traveler knew the most important thing was family and the personal connections he created with each and every person he met. We so valued those times and the infinite amount of positive, uplifting influence he could relay from his myriad life experiences during those visits. Such a blessing to have known this amazing, caring man. He will truly be missed.

Lori Dvorak

June 18, 2019

I am sorry for your loss, thoughts and prayers go out to the family. A beautiful obituary of Carroll, sounds like he lived a very full life with lots of love and memories. Hang in there and remember the good times!
Love, Lori

Lance Noe

June 18, 2019

A message of condolence from the family of John and Elise Noe to your family. John and Elise so enjoyed your friendship.

Charity Dangelser

June 17, 2019

My name is Charity Dangelser. I am the humbled recipient of the Fall 2018 Bennett Family Scholarship. However, Carroll's gift only started there. He and Mary Jo took the time out of their busy schedules to share with me. I am honored to have received his advice, and genuine interest in my personal and academic journey.. To the family I have heard so much about, Carroll was a man of many talents but endearing, supportive, and genuine are the things that come to mind first.

I am forever better for having the chance to meet him

Shirley Odegaard

June 17, 2019

My heart breaks, as I read about such a wonderful person. Carroll and Mary Jo were one of our two favorite patients at Ankeny Dental Professionals. I could talk to them both for hours, and what a wealth of information!! I feel so fortunate to have had the privilege of knowing Carroll. Thoughts and prayers for Mary Jo and the rest of the Bennett family. God Bless !!
Shirley Odegaard

Jack and Jane Goodhue

June 16, 2019

Three years ago we were lucky enough during a trip to Newton to meet Carroll, a cousin whom we had not really known. We planned to meet later here in North Carolina, but that was not to be. What a loss; he was an exceptional person, and one which we hoped to get to know even better. A sad day; we feel for Mary Jo.

Chick Dykeman

June 15, 2019

I first met Carrol when he started a men’s quartet at the University of Iowa. Our friendship extended to many double dates over our tenure at Iowa and we were both honored to be involved in their wedding. Since that time he continued to share pictures of his life and that of his and Mary Jo’s family activities. I will always cherish the memories and his piano talents and his quiet demeanor with the boisterous quartet. The legacy he left will continue for many years and his memory as well.


June 14, 2019

Carroll, because of you, every day I ask myself what I can do today to make life better for the people around me, how can I help them learn that they are better than they think they are, how I can show them that they can be more effective than they think they can be, how they can change what they don't like about their lives to be more effective, more knowledgeable, more joyful. Every day, I hear your voice saying, "It doesn't get any better than this,". And I try to remind myself and
others that it doesnt' get any better than this, any better than working together for a common cause, than seeing small progress turn to big progress. Carroll, every day I am a better person because of all you gave to me.