Francis William “Fran” Bennett, 92, of Williamsburg, Kansas, passed away peacefully in his sleep on March 7, 2019, at Richmond Healthcare & Rehab Center.
Family will meet with friends 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16, 2019, at Williamsburg United Methodist Church, 211 E. South St., Williamsburg, Kansas, with a memorial service to follow at 3 p.m. Rather than flowers, the family requests memorials be given to Literacy and Evangelism International, 1800 S. Jackson Ave. Tulsa, OK 74107 designated to “India Literacy Ministry” or https://www.literacyevangelism.org/give/mochary
Fran was born on Christmas Day, Dec, 25, 1926, to John William “Will” Bennett and Lena Merle (Wells) Bennett in a farmhouse near Pomona, Kansas. Fran grew up and attended schools throughout Franklin County, Kansas, graduating from Ottawa High School and enlisting in the U.S. Navy towards the end of World War II.
After an honorable discharge, Fran attended and played football for Ottawa University and later for Kansas State University, where he received a B.S. in Soil Conservation Engineering and an M.S. in Agricultural Engineering.
On August 15, 1953, he married Eloise Ruth Hanson, of Peoria, Illinois. Together, Fran and Eloise reared four sons. Fran was a man with great vision and full of integrity, exercising strong loyalty to doing what was right in the organizations he served and the circumstances he faced.
Early in his career, he and Eloise joined the U.S. Department of State and moved to North India where he began a lifetime of public service innovating technological and agricultural practices to support what is now called the Green Revolution. That service led him to support improvements in agricultural practices in South India and Sri Lanka as well as in Africa in the countries of Sudan, Uganda, and Kenya. He ended his career serving the State of Kansas working in the Department of Health and Environment improving water quality practices and policies.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Eloise; their sons, Gregory (Michelle), Randall (Helen), Roderick (Catherine), and Stanley (Christy); 10 grandchildren; 7 great-grandchildren; and one sister, Lucille (Bennett) Ames.