Clinton Bennett Jr., 91, of Sandusky, departed this life on Saturday, March 8, 2014, in Stein Hospice Center after a lengthy illness.
He was the oldest child born to Clinton Sr. and Paralee (Thompson) Bennett on Dec. 11, 1922, near Little Rock, Ark. Early on, Clinton was given the nickname, “Beebee,” and it stayed with him for a lifetime. It followed him into a career as an amateur boxer, where he excelled in the light heavyweight division of the Golden Gloves for 13 years.
A 1941 graduate of Sandusky High School, Clinton supported his family as a mill and foundry worker and for 21 years as a custodian in the Sandusky school system. Starting at Adams Jr. High and Campbell Elementary School, he made his ascension from the boiler room to the board room. He was appointed to the Sandusky School Board in 1992, as a replacement for an unexpired term. Later, after winning an election, he continued to serve the board for 13 years. Clinton’s proudest moment was becoming Sandusky’s first African American school board President.
His life was dedicated to serving God and the community. He was chairman of the Second Baptist Church Deacon Board for 51 years. He served 21 years on the Sandusky Planning Commission. He was honored by numerous community organizations including Progressive Lodge 85, Sandusky NAACP, National Council of Negro Women, Salvation Army, American Red Cross, the We Too Club of Ebenezer Baptist Church, and most recently by the Sandusky Board of Education for his service.
Left to cherish his memory are sons, Dr. Michael I.J. (Walidah) Bennett of Chicago, and Jack A. (Dr. Frieda) Bennett of Dayton, Ohio; sisters, Rosalee Bennett and Christine Rogers, both of Sacramento, Calif., and Goldean Rice of Columbus, Ohio; grandchildren, Derek (Felice) Grayson Jr. of Atlanta, Alexis (Clifford) Grayson of Lorain Ohio, Cicely Bennett, J.D. of Austin Texas, and Ashley Bennett of West Carrollton, Ohio; son-in-law, Derek Grayson Sr. of Fort Wayne, Ind.; special children, Ken and Verlene Wood of Sandusky; five great-grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Bessie Mae (Robinson); daughters, Jill Grayson and Patricia Bennett; sister, Pearl Bennett; brother, Walter Bennett Sr.; and special friend, Mary Wood.
Friends may call from 10 a.m. Saturday, March 15, until funeral services at 11 a.m., at Ebenezer Baptist Church, 1215 Pierce St., Sandusky. Burial will follow in Oakland Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Clinton’s memory to The Sandusky High School, Clinton Bennett Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Faith A. Denslow, Sandusky School Center, 2130 Hayes Ave., Sandusky, OH 44870.
Condolences and words of sympathy may be made to the family by visiting toftfh.com. Toft Funeral Home & Crematory, 2001 Columbus Ave., Sandusky, is handling arrangements.