Alfred R. Bennett, 86, of Plainfield, passed away surrounded by loving family members. He was born on July 29, 1936 in Elkhart, KS to the late Earl R. and Frances Bennett.
Al, along with his wife, Nancy, enjoyed spending time with their family. Attending their grandchildren’s school functions was a priority. Al and Nancy were always front and center at football, basketball, baseball, soccer and volleyball games. When they couldn’t attend, Al would always be sure to find and clip the newspaper game summary for his grandchild. He took pride in going to grandparent days and encouraged his grandchildren on their academic progress.
Al and Nancy’s home on Vestal Lane was a welcoming place for friends and family. No one was a stranger and there was always room at the table for a new friend or an old acquaintance. Swimming, whiffle ball, basketball, bonfires and watching the sunset from the back deck were Al and Nancy’s gift to loved ones. Holidays were spent singing around the piano with Nancy at the keys. He took pride in watching his family grow while sitting at the head of the dining room table, a table full of love, faith and good food!
Al spent nearly twenty-seven years working for the Indiana Department of Corrections (INDOC). He worked his way through the ranks of Correctional Officer, Teacher, Superintendent of the Indiana Girls School, the Indiana Boys School, Director of Programming and retiring from the Department as Deputy Commissioner. During his tenure, he worked for five different governors of the State of Indiana.
After his retirement, Al spent over two decades using his expertise in criminal justice working with local, county and state governments across the State of Indiana and the United States. His mark on the criminal justice industry was captured through the designing, building, operation and accreditation of jails and prisons. He worked in over seventy counties in Indiana, twelve different states across the nation and in multiple countries, including South Africa and Eastern Europe. His affiliation with the American Correctional Association (ACA) spanned fifty years. He was dedicated to the rehabilitation and safety of both the individuals who were incarcerated and those who were charged with caring for them until their release.
He worked tirelessly with the Town of Plainfield, Guildford Township and Hendricks County. Al was instrumental in securing a long-term lease from the State of Indiana and INDOC, for the location of the Al & Jan Barker Youth Sports Complex. He worked with the late Jim Hummel and the state legislature to transition the current park land from the State/INDOC to Guildford Township, for the establishment of the Jim Hummel Memorial Park. He spearheaded fundraising efforts for the YMCA of Hendricks County and their new facility in Avon.
Another love of his life was the Indianapolis International Airport. Al served as the Hendricks County representative to the Indianapolis Airport Authority, Board of Directors, serving as the board secretary for close to sixteen years. His involvement with the IAA Board included chairing the committee in charge of the reliever airports around Central Indiana.
Regardless of where or for whom he was working, he was commitment to that community and everyone who lived there. He dedicated his life to the service of others not only through his career but also volunteering and leading multiple community service organizations: the Plainfield Elks Club, Plainfield Optimist Club, Rotary, Kiwanis and the YMCA of Hendricks County. He also participated in numerous community committees, helping to organize community days, parades and festivals.
The recognition he received for a lifetime of public service are many: two Sagamore of the Wabash awards, awarded the designation as a Kentucky Colonel, from the State of Kentucky; Optimist of the Year, Kiwanis of the Year, Rotary of the Year, Anderson College Alumni of the Year, Hendricks County Republican of the Year, GOP Precinct Committeeman for nearly fifty years and delegate to the Indiana State GOP Convention. When you needed to get something done, you called Al and Nancy Bennett. They were quite a team.
Al was preceded in death by his loving wife of 61+ years, Nancy Bennett; brother, Allan J. Bennett. Visitation will be Thursday, January 26, 2023 at the Plainfield Christian Church (800 Dan Jones Road, Plainfield, IN 46168) from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm. Funeral services will be Friday, January 27, 2023 at 11:00 am in the church. Entombment will follow in Maple Hill Cemetery. Survivors include his children, Wesley R. (Suzy) Bennett, Lisa L. (Keith) Harden, A. Douglas (Diane) Bennett and Beckie L. Bennett; brother, Merv D. (Roseann) Bennett; 6 nieces; 3 nephews; 10 grandchildren; 10 great grandchildren. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to The Hendricks County Community Foundation, c/o The Al & Nancy Bennett Family Legacy Fund.