The recent and untimely passing of David J. Bennett, president of the Pontiac-Oakland Club International, was brought to our attention by Don Keefe, editor-in-chief and creative director of the POCI's publication "Smoke Signals."The following obituary of Mr. Bennett comes courtesy of Mr. Keefe.
David J. Bennett, the president of the Pontiac-Oakland Club International since 2008, died on Dec. 29, 2011, at approximately 9:00 p.m., Central Time. He'd taken a dog out on a leash in the middle of the night, slipped on the ice and fell and hit his head. He was 65.
Bennett, from Burnsville, Minn., was born in Syracuse, N.Y., on June 25, 1946, to Dr. David W. and Gertrude (Patnode) Bennett. He graduated from Syracuse University and ran a successful environmental and chemical consulting firm. His love of Pontiacs came at an early age — his first car was a ’58 Chieftain and he also took delivery of a new 1964 Ventura. His collection of full-sized Pontiacs included two ‘61 Pontiacs, a ’63 Pontiac and three ‘64 Pontiacs, including his original Ventura.
Dave worked his way up through the ranks of the Tomahawk Chapter and into POCI hierarchy, becoming a board member more than a decade ago, vice president in 2007 and president in 2008. During his tenure in those positions, Dave instituted a number of reforms designed to streamline the day-to-day operations of the club, bring total financial transparency and an unimpeachable election process to the organization. The “old boys club” era of POCI came to an end and the club entered a new era where bringing more value to the member was and is the focus.
As well as being a longtime Pontiac fan, he was also an avid motorcyclist, hunter and fisherman. He represented fishing organizations as a member of the Clean Water Council and was past president of the Lake Superior Steelhead Association and was secretary and board member of the Greater Lake Superior Organization. He had also been a charter member and chair of the Trout and Salmon Stamp Committee.
Dave was preceded in death by parents and daughter, Jennifer Lee. He is survived by wife, Linda; children, David, Lucas, Sarah (Mark), Cinda, and Elizabeth; grandchildren, Ruby Rose, Lauren, and Tiffany. A memorial service will be held at The Church of the Risen Savior in Burnsville, Minn., on Jan. 6.
Dave was a towering figure in the Pontiac hobby and his legacy will continue on through the POCI for many years to come. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends as well as the Pontiac community at large.