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Bennett, civic leader, dies

Bennett, civic leader, dies
Bennett, civic leader, dies
Floyd (Bud) Bennett (click for larger version)

Longtime businessman and sometimes crooner Floyd (Bud) Bennett of Corydon died early Wednesday morning, Feb. 1, 2012. He was 76.
Bennett graduated from New Middletown High School in 1953, one year after longtime friend Gordon Pendleton.
‘We played basketball (at NMES) on the same teams,’ Pendleton recalled.
Not only did the two spend time together on the court, they hung around outside of school.
‘He had an automobile early on; he was working,’ Pendleton said. ‘I couldn’t afford one. … He always took me wherever I wanted to go.’
After graduation, Bennett joined the workforce full-time while Pendleton served in the Army. Pendleton recalled an early trade of Bennett’s, selling hair treatments.
When Bennett would be in the area, Pendleton would go visit him. He recalled having to hide in another room while Bennett made his sales pitch.
‘It was quite a treat, listening to his presentations,’ he said.
Eventually, Bennett was talked into selling insurance, which became his career. He was owner and president of Bennett & Bennett Insurance Inc., with its main office in Corydon.
Bennett volunteered for many organizations in Southern Indiana and was particularly interested in promoting historic Corydon and Harrison County.
‘Bud had a vision of Harrison County as a special place, so much more than just a bedroom community,’ Jim Epperson, president and CEO of First Capitol Tourism Development Corp. (Harrison County Convention & Visitors Bureau). ‘And he wanted it and us to reach our potential.’
Before many of the county offices moved to the old hospital campus, he was concerned that local government employees were taking parking spaces that could have been used by visitors and shoppers in downtown Corydon.
One local tourist attraction, introduced to Bennett by Pendleton, became a favorite Saturday night tradition.
‘He hardly ever missed’ attending the Corydon Jamboree, Pendleton said, adding that Bennett loved country-western music.
Lee Parr King, who owns the Jamboree, dedicated the second set of songs during Saturday night’s show to Bennett, who sometimes would perform on stage.
‘Lee Parr let him sing,’ Pendleton said. ‘He’d get so … nervous. But he always did a good job.’
He described Bennett as ‘musical’ and someone who loved to dance.
Another love of Bennett’s, besides his family, including his wife, the former Betty Engleman, was golf.
Pendleton said he used to play the game with Bennett when they were younger.
‘Bud continued to play and got better,’ he said.
Pendleton said he would remember the ‘funny things’ about his friend, whom he admired.
‘He was a positive influence,’ Pendleton said. ‘I’m just proud of how he handled himself.’