- Madras Pioneer - Features
sp; Former Madras resident Garland Wells Bennett died June 7, 2003, at the age of 89.
Mr. Bennett was born Aug. 23, 1915, in Fort Towson, Okla., to parents Vester Filmore and Inez (Carrell) Bennett. The family moved to Hugo, Okla., where he attended and graduated from Hugo High School. He later graduated from Oklahoma State University with a degree in mechanical engineering, with a petroleum option. He participated in ROTC while in college and was called into the peace-time army, stationed at Fort Francis E. Warren in Cheyenne, Wyo.
After the military, he went to work for Phillips Petroleum Company in Odessa, Texas. He moved to the Panama Canal Zone for three years and worked as a designing engineer for electrical and mechanical equipment for the construction of the third lock of the Panama Canal, which was never built.
Returning to the U.S., he was commissioned into the regular army and served as a motor officer, supervising all motor transport in the unit. In Europe during World War II, he attained the rank of captain, received the American Theater Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, European African Middle Eastern Service Medal with three bronze stars and World War II Victory Medal.
Following the war he worked as an engineer for Boeing Aircraft in Seattle, Wash., for several years. He retired in 1978 after 32 years as an engineer with Petroleum Corporation (now British Petroleum). He worked at gasoline plants in Corpus Christi, Levelland, Lubbock, and Andrews, Texas, Jennings, La., and Ulysses, Kan. He was the area foreman in charge of two gasoline plants in Ulysses when he retired.
Since boyhood, he had been a member of the United Methodist Church and served on numerous boards and commissions and taught Sunday School classes. He was a member of the First Baptist Church in Madras at the time of his death. Service groups he belonged to included the Andrews Lions Club, Ulysses Rotary Club, Georgetown Optimist Club in Texas, he served on the board of directors of the Lone Star, Texas Chamber of Commerce, receiving the Man of the Year Award in 1991, and was a past president of the Lone Star Kiwanis Club.
He was involved with the Boy Scouts in Levelland, Texas, served in the Andrews School Advisory Committee and Andrews City Zoning Board, the Ulysses City Council, and was past president of the Ulysses Chamber of Commerce.
He and his wife, Eva Dean, were members of the President's Council at Southwestern university in Georgetown, Texas for several years.
Survivors include his wife, Eva Dean (Keith) Bennett of Madras; his son and wife, Dan Wells and Anna Bennett of Plano, Texas; daughter and husband, Marcia and Tom Sibley, Ill., of Chattanooga, Tenn.; stepdaughter, Carolyn Sue Taylor of Ulysses, Kan.; stepson and wife, Michael and April Taylor of Madras; grandchildren, Denise Church of Corinth, Texas, Chris Melder of Celina, Texas, Alexis and Benjamin Bennett of Plano, Texas, Jonah Taylor of Portland, and Liberty Taylor of Madras; five great-grandchildren, Bennett, Ashtyn and Kenedy Church of Corinth, Texas, Carl and Clare Melder of Celina, Texas; brother, Marshall Bennett of Bartlesville, Okla.; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
A memorial service was held in Andrews, Texas. Arrangements are under the direction of Bel-Air Colonial Funeral Home of Madras.