Charles Helm Bennett

October 13, 1927January 24, 2011

Charles Helm Bennett passed away peacefully on January 24, 2011 in St. Vincent’s Hospital. Charles was born on October 13, 1927 in Indianapolis to Edward J. Bennett and Francis Helm Bennett. He was the second of three boys and treasured his childhood in Carmel. Charles graduated from Park School in 1945 (now Park Tudor School) where he excelled in football and baseball. Charles was invited to participate in an NFL training camp but chose instead to enter Wabash College where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and the football team. In 1946, he joined the U.S. Army and served in Puerto Rico. After his military service, Charles returned to Wabash and graduated in 1950.

After a short time working for the Indianapolis Stove Company, Charles began a career with Eli Lilly and Company. He was stricken with paralytic polio in 1956. He valiantly overcame this obstacle to work a full career with Lilly as a Systems Engineer. He also helped the company make adaptations to improve the workplace for individuals with disabilities.

Charles was a loving and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He married Joanne Spitznagel in 1951 with whom he raised four daughters. He later married Janet Knall, who had four daughters and one son.

Charles was a dedicated member of Trinity Episcopal Church of Indianapolis and later St. Boniface Episcopal Church of Sarasota where he served on the Men’s Board. He was also active in many organizations, including the Indianapolis Dramatic Club, the Optimist Club, the Post-Polio Support Group of Sarasota, and the Sarasota Surf and Racquet Club Condominium Association. Charles and Janet were always very active in their community and known for their warm hospitality.

Charles is survived by his wife, Janet M. Bennett; his brother Edward J. Bennett, Jr. of Ft. Meyers, FL; his daughters, Mary J. Bennett of Indianapolis, Ariana H. Bennett of Raleigh, NC, Caroline Ammerman (Robert) of Cincinnati, OH; and Joanne Jeffers (William) of Sarasota, FL, in addition to seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents and brother, Henry.

Visitation will be at 1:00 P.M. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 3243 N. Meridian Street, followed by a service at 2:00 P.M. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, 1029 Fletcher Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana, 46203.


  • Memorial service Saturday, February 5, 2011
  • Memorial visitation Saturday, February 5, 2011

Charles Helm Bennett

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Robert Ammer man

February 2, 2011

Dear Janet
I have only known Charlie for the past 10 years but I believe he is
one of the bravest men I have ever known. And your commitment
to him was exceptional. I consider myself lucky to have knownboth of you.

Robert Ammerman

Louis Haerle

February 1, 2011

To the Bennett family. I would like to offer my condolences to you all. I have known your dad my entire life and he was a great friend to my dad (George) and to Haerle Family. He will be missed.

Bill Reid

January 31, 2011

Charlie was great fun to work with at Eli Lilly and Company and I enjoyed his fun-loving attitude. It seems so ironic that Lilly was one of the primary manufacturers of the Salk polio vaccine, the disease that hit Charlie. He never seemed bitter or angry about his disease and his positive attitude was a real boost to those of us who worked with him. He was a fine systems engineer; I learned a lot from him in my early years at Lilly. My he rest in the peace of Christ!

Tom, Nancy Coyne

January 30, 2011

Dear Janet and the whole Bennett family.
Nancy and I send our condolences to you all. Charlie has been a good friend to all. We have known him since 1962 and have admired what a great friend he has been to us and many others from the Lilly family.
God blessing to you all.
Tom and Nancy Coyne.

Ted Copland

January 28, 2011

With many wonderful memories, the people of Saint Boniface Episcopal Church hold Charles in their prayers.