Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Bennett remembered for public service

Local officials who served with Dwight Bennett were “shocked” and “saddened” by his death on Nov. 25. He was 63.
“Dwight’s death was a huge shock, not only to his family, but to us all,” Town of Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch told The Erwin Record. “It’s one of those things that just hits you on the side of the head. Nobody’s ready for it.”
“This was a total shock to us all,” Unicoi County Mayor Greg Lynch said. “My heart goes out to his family.”
According to his obituary, Bennett served in the National Guard for 26 years. He retired from CenturyLink after 40 years of service.
Bennett won a seat to serve the county’s third district on the Unicoi County Board of Education during the August 2014 election. He was serving his first term on the board at the time of his death.
“Mr. Bennett was a very active member of the Board of Education and the Tennessee School Board Association,” Director of Schools Denise Brown said. “He attended training classes and was eager to learn about his responsibilities as a member of the board. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this most difficult time.”
Bennett was also serving as an alderman for the Town of Unicoi. He had held a seat on the board since 2004 and was serving as the town’s representative on the Unicoi County Animal Control Board.
He was also a member of the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital Board and a member of the American Legion. He served as a county commissioner from 2010-2014.
During his time on the commission, Bennett fought hard for local causes, Greg Lynch said.
“He was a real advocate for what he believed in,” Lynch added.
Bennett also did this during his many years as an alderman for the Town of Unicoi, according to Johnny Lynch.
“Dwight was very conscientious,” Johnny Lynch said. “He was very willing to represent someone if they had a need. … He fought hard for whatever cause he believed in. He played a big part in a lot of the accomplishments that our town has reached.”
Both Greg Lynch and Johnny Lynch praised Bennett for his patriotism and political service, as well as his work with local civic organizations, such as the Unicoi Ruritan Club.
“Dwight was always available to help,” Greg Lynch said.
“Dwight was very active in a lot of things,” Johnny Lynch said. “He was very active in the Ruritan, the American Legion and was our representative on the animal control board. He did a great job at that, too.
“He is definitely going to be missed. We’re all just in shock and saddened in losing Dwight.”
Johnny Lynch also said he believed Bennett relished his role as a public servant.
“I think (Dwight) was really happy in his 10 years of service as a public servant,” Johnny Lynch said. “He seemed to get into it wholeheartedly and take an active role in what went on in the community.
“He was definitely one of our pillars. We’re going to miss him.”
Johnny Lynch also said the Town of Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen will most likely appoint an individual to complete Bennett’s term after the holidays.
“We will do it as expeditiously as possible,” Johnny Lynch said.
Regarding Bennett’s seat on the Unicoi County Board of Education, Brown said Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) stipulates that the county’s legislative body, which is the Unicoi County Commission, is responsible for appointing someone to complete his term.
“Vacancies occurring on the board shall be filled by the local legislative body,” T.C.A. 49-2-201 states.
Brown said the appointee must live in the third district.
• • •
According to Bennett’s obit, he had lived in Unicoi County most of his life and was a son of the late Claude Jr. and Beatrice Letterman Bennett. Other than his parents, Mr. Bennett was predeceased by his first wife, Ruth Ann Honeycutt Bennett.
He has left behind to cherish his memory, his wife, Debbie Bennett; a son, Mark Bennett, and wife, Claudine, of Kettering, Ohio; two step-daughters: Lisa Morley of Unicoi and Angie Moore and husband, Jody, of Erwin; one brother, Toby Bennett, and wife, Gloria of Erwin; two sisters: Geraldine Norsworthy and husband, Mark, of Louisville, Ky., Glenda Overholt and husband, Sanford, of Newport; four step-grandchildren: Lexis Morley, Trey Morley, Carson Moore and Claire Moore. Several nieces and nephews also survive.
He was a member of Rock Creek Presbyterian Church.
Bennett’s funeral was held on Friday, Nov. 28, at Unicoi County High School. Pastor Steve Rice officiated.