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Former Bristol Enterprise publisher Edward Bennett dies at 86

Edward Jackson Bennett (Courtesy) (click for larger version)
August 17, 2011
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Edward Jackson Bennett, 86, former New England newspaper publisher/editor and New Hampshire legislator, died on Aug. 8 at Fletcher Allen Health Care after a brief illness.

Bennett was publisher and editor of the Bristol Enterprise from 1955-1961. A longtime resident of Bristol and other New Hampshire towns, he had resided in South Burlington, Vt. for nine years.

Bennett was born in Boston, Mass. on Feb. 1, 1925, the son of Samuel Crocker and Elizabeth Jackson Bennett. He attended Milton Academy, the Thomas School in Tucson, Ariz., and Proctor Academy in New Hampshire.

In 1942, he enlisted in the Coast Guard, and served overseas for two years, participating in the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, and Italy. He served two years in the Korean War with the U.S. Navy, retiring as Chief Quartermaster. He also was a war correspondent for several months in Vietnam. He received a commendation medal from the Coast Guard for rescue work performed at the Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston in 1942, in which 450 people perished.

Bennett began his long newspaper career as a copy boy on the weekly Milton Record. After his discharge from the service in 1945, he became a wire editor at Newsweek magazine in New York City.

In 1947, he became state editor of the Claremont (N.H.) Daily Eagle, a newspaper he later purchased and edited from 1961 to 1972, when he retired briefly to run a farm in Goshen.

Between 1950 and 1961, he purchased and ran several New Hampshire weekly newspapers, including the Canaan Reporter and Enfield Advocate (1950-1955) and the Bristol Enterprise (1955-1961).

In 1977, Bennett purchased the Vermont Standard in Woodstock, the state's oldest weekly newspaper, which he edited for six years.

Bennett served two terms in the New Hampshire Senate in the late 1950's. In 1986, he was elected for two terms in the New Hampshire House from the Bridgewater-Ashland district. In 1974, he was appointed as director of Economic and Industrial Development for the state of New Hampshire.

Bennett was a moderator and selectman in several towns, and served as a state special fire warden for 25 years, and as a volunteer on five fire departments in both New Hampshire and Vermont. He was a member of the Box 52 Association in Boston, the nation's oldest fire buffs' organization.

In 1960, Bennett became president of Sydney Coal Company, a family-owned firm in Nova Scotia.

Following his retirement in 1984 from the newspaper business, Bennett remained active until his death, serving in the Peace Corps in Honduras for several years, working at a shipyard in Maine, and for nearly ten years as an information officer with the U.S. Forest Service in the White Mountains. He was a longtime member of the Union Club and the Somerset Club in Boston, and also a past president of both the New Hampshire and Vermont Press Associations.

A prolific writer, Bennett was the author of "Yankee Editor," which received favorable reviews from the Boston Globe. He also wrote and published two autobiographies, "70 Years of It" and "Ink in My Blood," for family and close friends, and, in 2010, a memoir of William Loeb, "Bill Loeb: As I Knew Him."

He is survived by his son, Samuel Crocker Bennett II of Hinesburg, Vt., and three daughters (Elizabeth Victoria (Bennett) Moreland of Ft. Myers, Fla., Hilary Frances Bennett of Sudbury, Mass., and Cynthia Williams (Bennett) Bonaccorsi of Croydon), as well as four grandchildren, one great grandchild, and his brother, John Dacre Bennett of Hampstead.

He was predeceased by his wife of 19 years, Jeanne Krummes Bennett, the mother of his children and business partner, who died in 1971, and Kathryn Carrington Bennett, to whom he was married for 16 years.

Following a memorial service in New Hampshire in the fall (date and location to be announced), Bennett's ashes will be laid to rest near Bennett-family ancestors in a cemetery in Burlington, Vt., overlooking Lake Champlain. Donations in his memory may be made to the Vermont Historical Society or the Boston Athenaeum.

Salmon Press
Martin Lord Osman
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