William Lawrence Bennett, 94, of Conway Springs, passed away Saturday, June 23, 2018, at Spring View Manor, Conway Springs.
He was born Sept. 1, 1923, near Newton, to parents William W. and Estelle (Biggerstaff) Bennett. He was raised in his early years on a farm near Halstead and attended elementary school at District No. 15 for a few years. The family moved to a farm southwest of Conway Springs in 1932, where Lawrence attended Springhill Rural School, and graduated from Conway Springs High School with the class of 1941. He attended Kansas State University, and in November 1942 married his high school sweetheart, Leila R. Lewis, and they were fortunate to be with one another for 75 years. To this union three sons were born.
Lawrence enlisted in the United States Navy in January 1943 and was a plank member of the USS Midway aircraft carrier during World War II. He was honorably discharged on April 16, 1946.
In 1950, Lawrence began working at the First National Bank in Conway Springs. He served the Conway Springs community in banking for the next 50 years and was the bank president and a board member during his tenure. He served on a number of state and regional committees of the Kansas Bankers Association, and was honored for his 50 years in banking. Lawrence also established the Bennett Insurance Agency in 1958, and worked closely with his son, Brad, for the past 22 years.
Lawrence always stayed active and was involved throughout the years in the local Conway Springs Lions Club, Conway Springs Chamber of Commerce, Conway Springs Fall Fest, and the Masonic Lodge, recently receiving his 70 year-pin. He also was involved in the local fire department, United Methodist Church, US 356 Board of Education, Conway Springs High School Booster Club, and was commander of A. Tom Kirk Post No. 265 American Legion. Lawrence conducted the annual Memorial Day ceremony for more than 30 years, honoring those who served their country, and in many ways positively touched the lives of so many.
Lawrence was preceeded in death by his parents; one brother, Lloyd Bennett; and one son, Tim Bennett.
He is survived by his wife, Leila R. Bennett, of their home in Conway Springs; two sons, Bill Bennett (Patty) of Goddard, and Brad Bennett (Shirley) of Clearwater; daughter-in-law, Chris Bennett, of Wichita; seven grandchildren, Marc, Jeff, Ashley, Alexis, Lauren, Andrea and Leslie; and 18 great-grandchildren, Ethan, Mattie, Katie, Taton, Tess, Tarin, Maddox, Finley, Layton, Presley, Deacon, Harper, Lucy, Brodie, Tucke, Charlotte, Bennett and Emma.
A visitation with family present was held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 27, at the United Methodist Church, Conway Springs. Funeral service will be conducted at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 28, also at the United Methodist Church, Conway Springs, with the Rev. Bryce Hansen officiating.
Arrangements are by Ebersole Mortuary, Conway Springs. Online condolences and guest book are available www.ebersolemortuary.com.
Memorials have been established with the United Methodist Church and the Conway Springs Fire Department.