Kenneth E. Bennett
July 30, 1924 – December 31, 2020
Kenneth Eugene “Gus” Bennett of Kokomo, IN, left this world in the early morning of December 31, 2020 after his battle with pneumonia and COVID19. He was born July 30, 1924 in Dayton Ohio to the parents of Will E. and Minnie June Bennett.
As a student of Kokomo High School, he met the love-of-his-life Louise Ridnour, in geometry class. She graded his papers which assured his success in geometry. With the advent of WWII, Gus wanted to enlist, but his parents would not give their approval. He discovered the way to get “drafted” was to skip school. Thus, he began skipping school as a means of “getting drafted”.
To his parents’ dismay, he was inducted into the army March 10, 1943 at the young age of 18. On January 1, 1945, Ken was boarded on a Landing Ship Tank and sent to LeHavre, France. He was then sent to Bacqueville area of Upper Normandy. He served under General Patton on the Europeon front. His participation in the “Battle of the Bulge” (Ardennes) began in Brussels and Belgium, around December 1944. During this 5 week battle, there were over 85,000 U.S. casualties. The temperatures were below freezing. To his death, he “hated” the Winter.
While in the Netherlands, Gus suffered his first land-mine wound while driving his M-24 tank. The explosion blew up his tank. Ken landed with blunt force giving him a concussion and a broken ear drum. Due to these wounds, he was asked if he wanted to return to the U.S. Ken’s loyalty to his men persevered, “No, I don’t want to leave my unit. I came here with them and want to return home with them.” So, after medical teatment (which he said was ‘good’), he picked up a tank and returned to war. He continued to serve for 3 years in the Eighth Armored Divsion, 80th Light Tank, Company “D”.
Even at 96 years, Gus doesn’t regret doing his part to stop Hitler’s regime. After helping to free prisoners in Poland’s Jewish concentration camps, he said he still cannot understand how the Nazis could be so inhumane to their own citizens.
Ken received many decorations - 3 Bronze Stars, Purple Heart, WWII Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and an American Theatre Ribbon and most recently, he received the French Legion of Honor Award.
Ken and his girlfriend, Louise, wrote many letters to one another. Louise prayed to God to bring home Ken safely and she would take care of him the rest of his life…and she did. Louise Ridnour and Ken were united in marriage at Main Street Methodist Church on April 18, 1946 and remained members until his death. Immediately upon his return from the war, he began his business career as an Omar man in Kokomo and Sheridan territory. Later, he purchased Union Insurance Agency at 106 West Mulberry from 1963-1980.
Ken remained a lifelong, loyal, public servant with the following affiliations/memberships: Member of Main Street Methodist Church; American Legion Post No. 6, Howard County Veterans’ Service Officer 1985-1989; Member of Elks No. 190 and Eagles for Life; Life member of the Masonic Lodge No. 93; Life member of V.F.W No. 1152; Commander of 736 Chapter of Military Order of Purple Heart for Life; and D.A.V. Life member #26. He was a member of the men’s ‘Liar’s Club’ that met daily for coffee “with the boys” at Jamie’s.
Louise and Ken were the PROUD parents of five children: Barb Bennett Price (Fred), Diana Sue Bennett Ramos (Robert), Brad Bennett (Shirley),Tamera Bennett Alexander(Jason) and Scott Bennett (Breanne). They had 13 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren! Their home on Orchard Lane was the “hub” for every holiday gathering with an abundance of food, badminton, 10-Card, corn hole, tree climbing, legos, playdough, and plenty of laughter. Kenny was notorious for his “unique” sense of humor. Only he could deliver a litany of nonsensical rhyming words that left everyone in hysterics. Each family member’s birthday was a special occasion to be recognized and appreciated. Consequently, Ken and Louise hosted numerous festive, family birthday celebrations.
As they aged, the children of Louise and Ken chose to honor their wishes to remain in their home, together, for the past 8 years. This would not have been possible, without the loving care of Julie Tharp, Kelley King, Pam Hunsberger Clark, Pat Whitesell, Estephanie Caballero, Gabey Meza, Renee Shanks, Shirley Howell and Susie Davis. Although Louise preceded him in death by 22 months, they were married 72 years.
Ellers’ mortuary will be facilitating a graveside, military service (outdoor) at 1:00pm, Thursday, January 7 at Kokomo’s Crown Point Cemetary, East Sycamore. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Main Street United Methodist Church, 830 South Main Street Kokomo, IN 46901.
Kenneth E. Bennett
January 7, 2021
AS A MEMBER OF THE VFW MILITARY RITES TEAM, I HAD THE GREAT HONOR OF SERVING AT MR. BENNETT'S GRAVESIDE SERVICE TODAY. I NEVER PERSONALLY KNEW KENNETH BUT AS A MEMBER OF THE GREATEST GENERATION, THIS MAN WAS INDEED A HERO. I THANK THE GENTLEMAN THAT HANDED ME THE PROGRAM TODAY. IN MY 21 YEARS OF BEING ON THE SQUAD, THIS WAS A FIRST AND I APPRECIATED IT. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL PROGRAM THAT I REALLY NEEDED TO SEE AND READ. I PRAY FOR KENNETH'S FAMILY AND FRIENDS. I REGRET NOT KNOWING HIM.
January 7, 2021
Always enjoyed time spent with Kenny and Louise at Moose, VFW and Legion. I wish I could be there for you. I think Wendell had you kids in school. You are in My prayers. You have great memories.
Tim and Sharon Alexander
January 3, 2021
Always enjoyed spending time with him Such a jokester and a loving man.❤️