Robert M. Bennett, 84, Lewiston

     Robert Merle (Bob) Bennett passed away Thursday, May 28, 2009, at Lewiston Rehabilitation and Care Center due to complications of cancer. Bob fought the disease for 25 years with the courage and valor displayed while serving in the 83rd Infantry Division during World War II.
     Bob was born to Albert Lee and Lilly Simmons-Bennett on Aug. 8, 1924 at Weippe.
     After graduation from Weippe High School he was drafted into the U.S. Army 75 Infantry Division and 83rd Infantry Division on March 16, 1943. He received his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. He served in combat from Omaha Beach to the Elbe River, where U.S. Army troops met up with the Russian Army.
     The 84d Infantry Division was the first to cross the Rhine River and the first to cross the Elbe River. His extraordinary service earned him Bronze Service Stars for serving at Normandy, Brittany, Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge), Rhineland and Central Europe. In addition he was recognized for his part in capturing 20,000 prisoners in one day in Western France.
     Bob was also awarded medals and badges such as the Combat Infantry Medal E.A.M.E. Theater, Good Conduct Medal, WWII Victory Medal and the Bronze Star for meritorious service.
     Bob and Millie Allen grew up at Weippe and were married at Richland on March 8, 1952. Their marriage produced no children but they reveled in, and adored the lives of their nephews and nieces, along with their best friend and sister-in-law.
     He began his years of occupation in mill work but spent most of life as an excellent meat cutter with his beloved wife Millie at his side as wrapper. Many remember him on the “Block” at Albertsons and finally B & C Meats; he retired in 1979.
     Bob and Millie’s retirement was spent with many happy days camping along the North Fork of the Clearwater or attending wedding anniversaries where their mini-camper was always the center of attention.
     Preceding Bob in death were his parents, a sister, Helen Marie deHass, a brother, Jackson Lee and a baby brother, William Walter.
     Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Millie; a brother; numerous nephews and nieces; two godchildren, whom he loved dearly.
     Cancer may have won this round, but Bob is the overall “Champ” as his dazzling smile and many accomplishments in life will live on forever.
     All of us who remain free owe a great deal of gratitude to Bob and the many men and women like him who have fought so valiantly to give us this freedom.
     Bob would be honored if memorials in his name were sent to Weippe Hilltop Heritage Museum, Lewiston Animal Shelter or an organization of donor’s choice.
     Funeral services will be conducted at 2 p.m. Thursday at Lewis-Clark Memorial Gardens, 3521 17th St., Lewiston. A reception will follow immediately in the Hospitality Room at the Memorial Gardens.

Lewiston Morning Tribune, June 2, 2009
Transcribed by Jill Leonard Nock

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