Jimmy Albrose Bennett

Jimmy Albrose Bennett was born on April 18, 1936, the first of three children to Annie-Ruth and Clinton Bennett of Bailey, NC.  He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Barbara; son, Andy; grandson, Hunter and granddaughter, Chelsea; sister, June Liles; nephew, Dana Liles; and niece, Hope Rufrano. 

Jimmy grew up a southern boy through and through as the son of sharecroppers. He learned very early in life not only the value of but the necessity for hard work. Being the eldest of three children, more was expected from him physically and to be a good example for his younger siblings Gerald and June. Not only did he have responsibilities on the farm, but he also sought out other jobs to earn extra money, everything from driving a school bus to running the projector at the movie theatre. He also raised and sold rabbits; some weekends, he barbecued and sold chickens at the gas station on Saturday. Always the industrious man, he longed for the opportunity a small town couldn’t provide, so he headed off to Newport News, Virginia, and the promise of work at the shipyard. 

As fate would have it, not long after he arrived, he met the love of his life, Barbara, and shortly after her 18th birthday, they were married. Not two months later, he was drafted into the US Army and was to be shipped out for two years and stationed in Washington State as an MP. When honorably discharged, he returned to Barbara and began his career working in the materials lab, grinding and preparing samples for the engineers in the test labs. 

Over the years, he studied and, through correspondence courses, became a Metallurgist and ultimately worked in the non-destructive testing labs at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Company, becoming a Master Shipbuilder during his 42 years of service. 

He never forgot his roots and always had a garden of some sort (usually what most would call a farm), which was one of his greatest joys. Like most things he did in life, he was a really good farmer and only enjoyed giving away the things he had grown. 

Jimmy was also an avid hunter and outdoorsman. He enjoyed duck, deer, rabbit, bird hunting, and freshwater fishing, especially when he went with his buddies. 

He was also very proud of his home and property he and Barbara worked so hard for and took great pride in keeping it neat and tidy. He loved spending time with his grandchildren there and was known for giving tractor rides and teaching them how to plant whatever they wanted. He was also known to show you the magic of dropping a line in a pond and catching nothing but a conversation. 

Jimmy was an active member of West Hampton Baptist Church for 52 years and attended faithfully with his family as long as he was able.  It didn’t matter how much work there was to be done; Sunday was for the Lord and for rest. He was a member of the adult choir for many years and an active member of his Sunday school class. He also enjoyed bringing pig cookers he and his son fabricated to different events to cook and socialize with his friends and family. Another of the many skills he passed along to him. 

Yet another of his skills was as a woodworker. He was a cabinetmaker and master woodworker. If you could describe it, he could draw it and build it. All of the outbuildings on his property were designed and built without the use of a slide rule, computer, calculator, etc., and are still standing 30+ years later. 

For all the things he had, he held close to him his family, his faith, and his friends. A common theme when spoken of is how kind he was, and that one word sums up this amazing, talented, thoughtful, loving, selfless, shy, helpful, and giving man. He was always kind. 

The family will receive friends on Saturday, September 30, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. at West Hampton Baptist Church.  A memorial service will follow at the church at 11:00 a.m.

Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.

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