Ben Bennett, 77, of Junction City, passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019 at his home. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 20, 2019, at the First United Methodist Church. Pastor Dirk Weiss will officiate. A visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019 at the church. Cremation will follow the funeral service. Memorial contributions are suggested to be given to the First United Methodist Church 804 N. Jefferson Street Junction City, KS 66441 or to the organization of the donor’s choice.
Ben was born July 29, 1942, in Garden City, the son of Boyd and Rosilene (McLeish) Bennett.
Ben moved to Wichita with his family when he was five years old. He graduated from Wichita North High School with the class of 1960. He later graduated from Friends University in Wichita where he played football. Upon graduating from Friends, he moved to Junction City, where he had accepted a position as a high school government teacher and head wrestling coach. He also was an assistant football coach under the leadership of Al Simpler. During his tenure at Junction City High School from 1965 until 1982, he guided the Blue Jay wrestling teams to three state championships and 27 individual wrestlers to state titles. He later worked extensively with USA Wrestling where he served on the board of directors, as executive director, and as a manager of the wrestling venue for the 1984 Olympics. Ben was named Kansas Wrestling Coach of the Year three times and was a member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He was one of the original founders of the Kansas Kids’ Wrestling Federation.
In 2006, Ben was elected to the Geary County Commission. He represented the 1st District of western Geary County on the commission and was serving his fourth term of the governing body. Ben was a member of First United Methodist Church, Junction City Noon Rotary, Booster Club, Junction City Rodeo Association, Military Affairs Council, AUSA, Bourbon Club, and many organizations and boards under his leadership as a county commissioner.
He married Peggy Huey on Dec. 28, 1966 in Junction City, at the First United Methodist Church.
Survivors include his wife Peggy; two brothers, DeWayne Bennett (Rose) of North Wilkesboro, NC and Everrett Bennett (Grace) of Riverside, CA; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Buck and Phyllis Gibson of Junction City; one uncle and aunt, Dale and Marge King of Wylie, TX and one aunt, Phyllis Haynes of Abilene; three nephews and four nieces, many great nephews, nieces and cousins as well as his four legged friends, Ralphie, Ebby and Hazer.
He was preceded in death by his parents and father and mother-in-law, Vince and Jeane Huey.
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