Robert J. "Bob" Bennett, 85, of Ashland, Ore., passed away on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. He resided at Mountain Meadows in Ashland, and more recently, Farmington Square in Medford.
Bob was born in Rock Island, Ill., on Nov. 6, 1927, to Mildred Agnes Bennett and Edward James Bennett, and was married to the late Mollie Bennett. He graduated from Rock Island High School and served in the Navy before obtaining education and recreation degrees from Augustana College and the University of Colorado.
Bob was a professor emeritus at Southern Oregon University, retiring after 30 years in student services. He was the school's first foreign student advisor and is honored by an award to recognize his support and encouragement for international students. He also was regional chairman of the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors.
Bob taught at Moline High School (Ill.), Augustana College and Coe College. He was an Illinois state high school wrestling champion and coached football, wrestling, golf, swimming and gymnastics. Bob served on the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission for 12 years and was a member of Ashland Elks and Ashland Rotary, where he was a Paul Harris Fellow with 43 years of perfect attendance.
Bob lead a rich and joyful life and he loved to travel across the globe. He and his wife Mollie visited friends in many countries and they enjoyed meeting the families of the international students he had mentored at the college. Bob had a special affinity for Mexico and Guanajuato, Ashland's sister city. He valued education and said he never stopped learning. Bob especially enjoyed meeting and getting to know people. He touched the hearts of countless students, colleagues and friends with his positive attitude and generosity.
Bob is survived by his two sons, Bradley and Porter, both of Ashburn, Va.; his five gradnchildren, B.J., Lincoln, Betsy, Chase and Annika; and his sister, Theresa Naftzger, of Yuma, Ariz.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, at the First Presbyterian Church in Ashland. Memorials may be made to the Ashland Community Hospital Hospice & Palliative Care Services, the Robert J. Bennett International Student Services Award or Ashland Rotary's Bob and Mollie Bennett International Studies Scholarship fund.
Arrangements are with Litwiller-Simonsen Funeral Home and Crematory, Ashland.