James G. ‘Kemer’ Bennetts

WAUWATOSA, Wisc. — James G. “Kemer” Bennetts, 90, a resident of Oak Park Place in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, passed away surrounded by his family on October 12, 2017.

He was born on March 21, 1927, in Calumet, the son of Lorna Doone Menzies Bennetts and Russell Kenneth Bennetts.

He attended the Calumet Public Schools, graduating from Calumet High School, Class of 1944. He attended Michigan Technological University and then enlisted in the U.S. Navy.

Upon his return, he completed his education graduating in 1950 with a B.S. degree in civil engineering. Due to his continuation in the Naval Reserves, he was called back into service until 1952. He served in radio communications and was stationed in Hawaii, later receiving his commission as a first lieutenant.

He was united in marriage to Bernice “Bennie” Rastello on August 16, 1952. They celebrated their 65th anniversary in 2017.

James was employed by the City of Milwaukee as a civil engineer and then joined the Civil Engineering and Mining Department of Calumet and Hecla. He was also employed by The Copper Country District Health Department as a sanitarian for the Keweenaw, Baraga, Houghton and Ontonagon Counties. He held the positions of loan officer and assistant secretary- treasurer with Detroit and Northern Savings and Loan Association. He joined and later purchased the Leveque Insurance and Real Estate Agency.

He was very active in the community and served on the following, a member and past president of the Calumet High School Board of Education for 26 years; Calumet High School Scholarship Committee for 29 years; a member of the Copper Country Intermediate School District Board of Education for 26 years; a delegate to the REMC (Regional Education Media Center 1) for 29 years; a member and past president of the CLK Rotary Club; a member and past president of the Hancock Rotary Club; a member of the Laurium Senior Housing Commission; a member of the BPOE #404 Elks of Calumet; the American Legion; a past board member of the Calumet Golf Club; and a member of the Michigan Tech Golden “M” Club. Jim was also a member of the First Congregational Presbyterian Church of Calumet and President of the Men’s Club until the church closed. He later converted to Catholicism and became a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church of Calumet.

Due to his ill health, he and his wife moved to Garden View Assisted Living in Calumet, in January, 2013. They resided there through August of 2016. They then relocated to Oak Park Place Assisted Living and Memory Care in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, to be near their son and daughter.

James enjoyed sports, played basketball in high school and later with the Independents Team. He played baseball with a local team. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends, golf, crossword puzzles, reading and music from the “Big Band” era – especially jazz.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Robert.

Surviving are his devoted wife, Bernice of Wauwatosa; one daughter, Jacqueline (David) Tyler of Waukesha, Wisconsin; and his son, Gary of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Also survived by a nephew, William of Flint; and a niece, Nancy of Orlando, Florida; a special cousin, Harry Bennetts and his wife, Marcia; and several nieces and nephews.

He will be forever loved and missed. Friends and family will remember him as a kind, caring, generous person – a truly good man. He can now rest watching over the ones he loved.

The family extends their sincere thanks to the caregivers at Garden View and Oak Park Place. A special thanks to Allay Hospice for their spiritual support and excellent care.

The Becker-Ritter Funeral Home of Brookfield, Wisconsin, is assisting the family with funeral arrangements.

A private family Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Private interment will be at Wisconsin Memorial Park (mausoleum) in Brookfield, Wisconsin.

The family suggests memorials to the CLK Foundation of Calumet, Michigan or the Alzheimer’s Association.