WADDINGTON-Michael Joseph Bennett III, 81, passed away on Friday, February 25th, 2022 at the Massena Rehabilitation and Nursing Care. Last week Michael was informed by his doctor that he had kicked cancer’s ass. This came as no surprise to his family who believed that the cigarette smoking, Manhattan drinking icon would be scratching on his acrostic puzzles with “his pen” and building Lego sets (with Chicago PD blaring in the background) forever. Carol, however, had other plans for him and called him to join her, on their Irwin in the afterlife, to continue their adventure of over 53 years. Mike was born on October 10, 1940, in Queens, NY. Mickey was the oldest son of Michael Joseph Jr. and Edith Bennett, sister to Maureen whom he adored, and brother to Bryan and Thomas (whom he also liked.) He attended Bishop Loughlin High School and was called to the priesthood where he studied theology in the Seminary for a brief period. When his sister Maureen was diagnosed with cancer, dad was shaken and left the Seminary. His faith was restored by the nurses who were Maureen’s friends and caregivers. While attending a dance with one such nurse, he fell in love with another (scoundrel), Carol Ann McGowan, and thus began their 53-year adventure.
He attended Catholic University, where he received an education degree. He taught English at West Babylon Junior and Senior High Schools for the next 35 years where he had the dubious distinction of teaching and coaching his two beloved younger brothers, Bryan and Tommy, along with thousands of other students whose lives he impacted in the most positive of ways. “The Hangin Judge” also coached soccer, tennis, and basketball (and later his daughter’s softball team), served as a union rep, became an administrator, and supplemented his teacher’s salary by helping his father as an insurance adjuster in some of the sketchiest areas of NYC (walk quickly and carry an enormous Maglite).
He and Carol had 3 children: Kelly, Michael, and Meghan, and taught them by example to prioritize experiences over material possessions and what it means to love unconditionally “in sickness and in health until death do us part.”
He was an avid sailor, serving as the trapeze man on the Nevermore, and was eventually the Commodore at the Sayville Yacht Club. He spent countless “happy hours” on the Great South Bay and betwixt and between many of the Caribbean islands. An avid golfer, Mike, and Carol split time between their home in Barefoot Bay Florida, and their riverfront cottage on the St. Lawrence, where Mike was a volunteer ambulance driver as his way of giving back to the small community that welcomed them with open arms. Mike and Carol traveled the world with their best friends: Carol’s brother Jack and wife Regina, Linda and Gary Loker, and Bob and Ann Nardella. They visited many countries as well as most, if not all, of the states in the USA.
Mike was a compassionate and even-keeled human. Even after Carol died, Mike continued to support JDRF, St. Jude, Habitat for Humanity, the whales, and all stray dogs and feral cats (US and foreign). The angriest he ever got was when the golf league forced Meghan to play from the men’s tees (but it was anger with a tinge of abject pride.) He was a welcoming father-in-law and golf was the medium he used to bond with his “outlaw” sons. They appreciated his very academic approach to the game which always put “The Robot” at the top of their leader board. With his daughter in-law, Meggin, Blade needed no medium as she and her “Big Asparagus” shared a connection that only they understood.
He was the biggest fan and never happier than when following the “kid’s” performances on the field, ice rink, court, golf course, stage, or in the air. He rarely wore anything that didn’t proclaim his fandom be it NY Yankees, Sayville, OFA, East Hampton, Elmira, Geneseo, Sienna, Penn State, RIT, Syracuse, RPI, Fordham, or Potsdam. His devotion to Yale Bulldogs football led to the purchase of a newfangled Roku device which he never understood and relied 100% on his daughter, Meghan, to set up and use.
His life is now being celebrated by his children Kelly Anderson(Christopher), Michael Bennett(Meggin), and Meghan Fetterly(Gordy), grandchildren (Jake, Reghan, Grace, Calum, Maggie, and Lilly), brothers Thomas Bennett (Mary), Bryan Bennett (Theresa), nieces and nephews (Jennifer, Sean M, Amanda, Sean B, Craig, Nathan, Rebecca, and Kyle) and their families along with countless cousins and friends too numerous to name but too cherished and remembered until the end.
Graveside services will be held on Saturday, August 20th, 2022 at 10 a.m. at the St. Mary's Cemetery in Waddington.
Arrangements are under the direction of LaRue & Pitcher Funeral Home, Ogdensburg.
*Disclaimer: Please excuse any misspellings and/or grammatical mistakes as this was the first document written by the family that Mike Bennett did not proof before publication.