John DeVilbiss Bennett

April 13, 1918April 14, 2014
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John DeVilbiss Bennett went to be with his Lord on April 14, 2014, one day after his 96th birthday. “John D.” was born in Derby, Texas on April 13, 1918 to Sidney Lionel Bennett, Sr. and Martha Agnes (DeVilbiss) Bennett, and was predeceased by his wife of 64-1/2 years, Wynona Louise (Melton) Bennett; his brother Sidney L. Bennett, Jr. and his wife Delma of Pearsall; his sister Betsy Kemper and her husband George of Marble Falls; and his brother Harry Bennett of Pearsall.

He attended a one-room school in Derby, followed by Pearsall High School, and Texas A&M, where he graduated (barely) with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1939. He worked for American Well & Prospecting Co. in Corsicana, Texas until the 36th Division was federalized in 1940. In 1941 he married Wynona Melton, and they were happily married until her death in 2006. He served in the 36th Division during World War II in Algeria, Italy, France, Germany, and Austria, earning a Bronze Star, Oak Leaf Cluster in lieu of second Bronze Star, Silver Star, and Croix de Guerre. After World War II he worked for International Derrick & Equipment Co (IDECO) in Beaumont from 1946 until 1955. In 1956 he went to work for Sun Oil Company at their research lab, living first in Richardson, Texas, and then in Corinth, Texas. After retirement he and Wynona moved to Marble Falls to be near his sister Betsy.

He was a great grandson of the Methodist circuit rider John Wesley DeVilbiss. John D. and Wynona were founding members of Trinity Methodist Church in Beaumont in 1955 and Spring Valley Methodist Church in Dallas. He enjoyed attending First United Methodist Church in Marble Falls and Walnut United Methodist Church near Round Mountain.

He was a life-long inventor with 65 patents, inventing until his last day. He was author of an autobiography, “Oh No! Not That!: Life of John D. Bennett, Inventor and Artillery Captain”, which was published last year.

He is survived by his son John Wayne Bennett and his wife Allison of Meadowlakes; son Barry L. Bennett and his wife Deb of Arvada, Colorado; sister-in-law Jo Annelle Bennett of Pearsall, Texas; “honorary son” Lee Murrah of Riverside, Texas; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family wishes to extend their thanks to the staff of Gateway Villa in Marble Falls for their excellent care and patience for the last few years.

Visitation will be Thursday night, April 17 from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home (1805 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls, TX 78654). There will be a celebration of his life at First United Methodist Church (1101 Bluebonnet Dr., Marble Falls) at 10:00 am on Friday, April 18, followed by a graveside service at the Pearsall Cemetery on Hwy 140 East, in Pearsall, Texas at 3:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC, 28201) or the American Diabetes Association (POB 11454, Alexandria, VA, 22312).

Offer condolences to the Bennett family at

Arrangements under the direction of Clements-Wilcox Funeral Home in Marble Falls.


  • Visitation Thursday, April 17, 2014
  • Funeral Service Friday, April 18, 2014

John DeVilbiss Bennett

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Susan Hale

April 30, 2015

Dear Barry and Wayne,
I just now heard about your dad's passing. I'm so sorry. I'm glad you got to spend a lot of years with both your parents because of how close you all were. I think of your family often even though it has been years since I have seen you. Hope you are doing good!
With love, Susan Chambers Hale

Peggy Napoli

December 6, 2014

I just came across the January 1975 edition of Science & Mechanics magazine. There is a wonderful story about your father in this magazine. He was a TRUE AMERICAN INVENTOR AND WWII WAR HERO.
I looked through the photos, and saw the picture of the windmill that was featured in the magazine.
Another interesting note: Our grandson is also born on April 13th. He is 18.
I would sure send you this magazine if you would like to add it to your family's history collection. The magazine is in very nice condition too. Just let me know.
You may contact me at We own a family operated antique and classic car museum here in Rapid City SD.
I am inserting a photo of the magazine article about your father's awesome talent of invention. Inside the cover index:
Top Inventor In Sun's Dream Department
Blessings from a South Dakotan who enjoyed the story about your father.
Peggy Napoli
Rapid City, SD

Mary Armstrong

April 17, 2014

Barry and Deb,

We are so sad to hear of John D's passing. What a remarkable man he was! We are so glad he wrote his autobiography and that you shared it with us.

Mary and Dean Armstrong

Glenda Jones

April 17, 2014

Wayne and Barry,
Your dad was one in a million, as you know. It makes me smile to know that he'll be celebrating Easter with the Risen Lord, and with your sweet mom. With deep appreciation for his enduring friendship with our family ... Hal and Glendy (Hearn) Jones