Bennewitz, William 'Bill' Age 96, of Burnsville, MN Passed away July 1. Preceded in death by his wife, Norma Jean Morben Bennewitz. Survived by three sons, Bob (Mary) of Northfield, MN, Kelly (Katy) of Minneapolis, MN and Hugh (Jennifer Briggs) of Minnetonka, MN. Six grandchildren and three great-grand daughters. Memorial service on Thursday, July 25th at River Hill United Methodist Church, 11100 River Hills Dr., Burnsville, MN. 10AM visitation, 11 AM memorial service, 12 Noon lunch. Bill was born on November 27th, 1922 in St. Cloud, MN. In 1941 at age 18 he enlisted in Naval Cadet Officers Training. He trained to be a fighter pilot in Corpus Christie Texas, Jacksonville Florida, and finally in Santa Barbara, California for overseas deployment. He was awarded a Marine Corps commission as a Corsair fighter pilot at the Marine base in Mojave, California. He then shipped out to Hawaii as part of the USMC VMF 124 Squadron stationed at Miramar Air Base in San Diego. His squadron was the first to fly the Corsair fighter aircraft off of an aircraft carrier. He was assigned to the USS Essex aircraft carrier in the South China Sea. While on the Essex he flew sorties over Formosa, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, the South China Sea and French Indo-China. Bill was involved in some of the first air strikes over mainland Japan. For his service in WWII Bill was awarded five Air medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross as well as numerous other awards and recognitions. He was promoted three times and mustered out of the service as a Captain in the USMC in 1945. After the war Bill obtained his college degree from the University of Minnesota and returned to St. Cloud where he married Norma Jean Morben in 1953. Their fathers both worked for the Great Northern Railroad in St. Cloud. Together they had three sons. The Bennewitz family moved to North River Hills in Burnsville in 1964 where Bill and Norma were charter members of the church which became the River Hills United Methodist Church. Bill professionally worked as a Salesman for the Minneapolis distributor of the A.B. Dick Duplicating Products Company of Chicago retiring at age 62. In a role reversal after retiring, he spent years caring for Norma when she became ill with a brain tumor. After she passed away in 1995, he spent his time attending his grandchildren's activities. Bill never said no to sporting events, band concerts, school pageants, science fairs, etc. He also volunteered to read to kindergarteners at Wm. Byrne Elementary School in Burnsville. Bill enjoyed gardening, camping trips to the BWCA, golfing, playing tennis, both Nordic and Alpine skiing, and sailing. He participated in many of these activities well into his 90's. The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be sent to Heartland Hospice, 2685 Long Lake Rd, #105, Roseville, MN 55113 or the River Hills United Methodist Church of Burnsville, MN 55337.

Published on July 21, 2019

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