Donald “Don” Gordon Bennett, 80, a long-time businessman and community leader, passed away Monday, June 26, 2006, at Kadlec Medical Center.

Don was born Jan. 10, 1926 in Olympia, the son of Gordon Samuel and Marie (Chesser) Bennett. Don received his education in Olympia, graduating from Olympia High School in February of 1944. Don received his BA degree in business from Puget Sound College (UPS) in two and half years and later that same year, on Sept. 29, 1946, he married Elverna “Vernie” Amundsen in Olympia. Following their marriage they lived in Moses Lake and Aberdeen, where Don managed the local radio station.

In April of 1953, the Bennetts moved to Sunnyside, where Don was the manager of KREW.

In 1965 Don became owner and operator of KREW and expanded it to both an AM and FM station.

He was active in the Washington State Association of Broadcasters, appearing before congressional committees. Don served as Chairman of the Board on the WSAB and in 1992 he was honored as Washington State Broadcaster of the Year. In 1996, Don sold KREW and began his retirement.

Since the age of 14, Don was a member of the Masonic Lodge.

He was a 57-year member of the Lions Club and in 1964 was the District Governor of Lions International. He served as President of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, having been Master of Ceremonies at many community events. Don also served as Chairman of the Sunnyside Civil Service Commission, was a member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of Valley Memorial Hospital and helped in the merger of both Sunnyside hospitals and chaired the local Boy Scouts District. He was past member of the Lower Valley Elks Lodge #2112.

Most of all Don cherished time spent with his family, loved to travel and play golf and never met a stranger.

Don is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Elverna “Vernie” Bennett of Sunnyside; four children, Wilfred “Bill” Bennett of Anchorage, Alaska, Lawrence “Larry” Bennett of Sunnyside, Teresa Bennett of Stanwood and Gary Bennett and wife, Linda Gill, of Pleasanton Calif.; and six grandchildren, Rachel, Erin, Lindsey, Jennifer, Katie and Tom.

Don was preceded in death by his parents.

Viewing and visitation will be held Friday, June 30, 2006, from 2 to 8 p.m. at Smith Funeral Home, Sunnyside. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 1, 2006, at Smith Funeral Home Chapel. Those wishing to honor Don’s memory may contribute to the Sunnyside Lions Club, P.O. Box 1103, Sunnyside, WA. 98944. Smith Funeral Home Sunnyside is in charge of arrangements.


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