The Village of Saltaire is deeply shocked and saddened by the death of Will Bennett, longtime resident of 110 Atlantic Walk. Will passed away suddenly on October 29, 2014, at the age of 48.
While Will pursued a successful career in building and construction, it was Saltaire that was first and last in his heart. A resident of the community since childhood, Will loved all that the village traditionally had to offer…in Will’s case, above all, fishing. Will was a fixture at fishing tournaments and often brought home the prize, and when not competing could reliably be found at the beach or on the dock, at optimum hours and in any season, relaxing at his favorite pursuit.
Will was also a superb chef, a skill he generously shared with all. Even a causal visitor to his house would usually be shown the evening’s menu and, if the timing was right, be given a sample to take home. (Will’s “samples” were usually a meal unto themselves.) He would often drop by the Village Office, the firehouse, and friends’ homes with something he had just made, for no reason other than thoughtfulness and the happiness he got by doing something nice for others. That we all eagerly accepted such culinary gifts was a sign of how much we looked forward to enjoying some of Will’s cooking! Nowhere did Will’s abilities manifest themselves with greater style and anticipation than in his annual Oktoberfest dinner. Initially a repast for the Fire Company, the guest list mysteriously expanded year after year as word of Will’s sensational meals spread. The fire department never realized it had so many friends as when they turned up for Will Bennett’s cooking. Those dinners are legend.
Will’s truly selfless generosity was best reflected in his 30-plus years as a member of the Saltaire Volunteer Fire Company. Will was one of the finest firefighters the department ever boasted and his training and abilities were amply attested to by his being selected to serve as both a Captain and an Assistant Chief. His technical and mechanical know-how was immensely useful to the company and he shared his knowledge with others to help them attain his level of skill, though few ever quite matched Will’s abilities. He led by example and personality and excelled at every task in a difficult profession.
But above all, Will was cherished and genuinely loved by virtually everyone who knew him. He was infinitely patient and kind, an understanding guy who loved hanging out with his innumerable friends. Will had a great sense of humor, and a way of laughing that by itself made you want to laugh too. He could be sardonic but was never malicious. As an intensely private person Will never pried into others’ lives, yet he always stood ready to offer a helping hand to anyone, for any reason, at any time.
This was the essence of Will Bennett, and of the life he led. Will has been called a kind and gentle soul; and so he was. Perhaps, as we who loved him look back upon his life, his was too sweet a soul for this Earth. Will never allowed his own troubles to intrude into others’ lives, he never asked of his friends as much as he gave them. He was one of the finest people those of us privileged to have known him ever met. We will never cease to miss him.
Will was predeceased by his parents, Claire and Stephen, and by his brother James, and is survived by his brother Andrew and his family. And also by the hundreds of his friends and co-workers for whom Will Bennett was and always shall be a much loved and deeply mourned member of our own families. Our grief knows no words.
Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest….