Jerome (Jerry) Bennett passed away peacefully at home June 26, 2023, to be reunited with his wife of 70 years Barbara A. Bennett. He was surrounded by loving family members and enjoying his favorite music cranked up loud!
Born May 2, 1931, to Bessie and Grant Bennett, he was the 6th of 10 children. Growing up in and around Akron, Mogadore and a farm in Suffield, enduring crushing poverty of the Great Depression and then World War II. He attended Field where he excelled at football, basketball, and track. He then served a tour in the U.S Navy aboard the U.S.S. Perkins as a radarman playing on the ship's basketball team. Upon his return to civilian life, he worked at a variety of jobs but found his career at Goodyear Tire & Rubber where he built race tires for the last 20+ years. He retired in 1992 after over 41 years of service. He also had many other jobs including landscaping to provide for his family.
Jerome and Barbara were married March 22, 1952. He first spotted her riding in a convertible during a parade in Mogadore. He knew instantly she would be the Love of his life! Since they had been unable to have children of their own, they were thrilled to adopt Joseph in 1962 and then John in 1963. And of course, as fate would have it, soon thereafter Barbara was pregnant with her first Jerome Jr (Boo-Boo) born 1965 and then Kimberly in 1967.
In 1961, Jerome had founded the East Akron Pee Wee football program along with his brother Gene and good friend Jules Calderone. Jerome coached the East Rockets for four years and won the championship all four seasons accumulating an overall record of 38-1. Only one loss in four seasons with 4 straight championships! The young couple opened their home to the neighborhood kids driving as many as he could fit into his car to practice every night! He was also known to take them for ice cream or taking them to sell raffle tickets to raise funds for the team. He coached many talented players including many playing college and several professionally.
The growing family moved to Uniontown in 1968, where they lived the rest of their lives. Jerome worked hard to provide for his family and always had a second job landscaping. Despite working two jobs he found the time along with Bernie Greathouse to start Lake’s first youth football program. He spent many nights and weekends raising the funds to purchase equipment for the pee-wee program. Jerome also coached Lake for many years.
As the years passed Jerome and Barbara lived a peaceful life with weekly family meals. After coaching football and baseball for many years he finally ended his coaching career to pursue his second love, golf. He golfed and bowled for many years in the different Goodyear golf and bowling leagues. He also loved watching his grandchildren’s school and sporting events, rarely missing one. They enjoyed the winter months travelling to such places as Daytona Beach or Galveston Island. They loved the beach and constantly working on their tans.
Jerome was a wonderful, loving husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, and friend. He lived a life of giving and sharing and anyone who truly knew him, knew they could always rely on him. I have often wondered how different our lives would have been if we were not lucky enough to have him for our father. The love and security he provided was truly inspiring to me to be a better husband, father and hopefully son. Even though he dealt with many health issues including 2 heart surgeries, back surgery, diabetes, and cancer to name a few. He faced all his health issues without complaint, remaining active and independent till the very end. In fact, he was still driving and living alone less than a week before he passed. In his final days he loved to spend time with his namesake Elliot ROME Wilson, his great granddaughter who he had formed a special bond quickly after her birth in May of 2022. He spent at least 2 full days every week with Elliot singing songs and interacting with her. It was truly sweet to witness! He taught us how to live, love and to focus on what is important. He will be sorely missed by all that were lucky enough to know him!
Jerome and Barbara are survived by children Joseph (Linda), John, Jerome Jr. (Nancy) and Kim Lindsey. Grandchildren, Jessica Wilson (Alex), Veronica Lindsey and Austin Lindsey. Great Granddaughter Elliot Rome Wilson, Brother Grant Bennett (Sue). And many nieces, nephews, and friends.
A special thank you to Sharice and Crossroads Hospice for their comfort and care in his final months