John Forrest Bennett AKA “Frosty,” “Papa,” and “The Cross Man”, 77, formerly of Burlington, passed away peacefully with his family by his side at 2:24 PM Thursday, November 2, 2017, at Barns Jewish Hospital in St Louis, MO.
Born August 1, 1940, in Quincy, IL, he was the son of Carl and Ella Mae Beers Bennett. On June 13, 1959 John married his high school sweetheart Mary Beth Weicher and the two were married for 58 years.
John spent his childhood in both Hannibal, Missouri and Burlington, Iowa where he attended Burlington High School.
He was a U.S. Navy Veteran, serving from April 16, 1959 until July 31, 1961.
John resided in Burlington Iowa for 63 years and worked at Sweetheart Bakery for 4 years and then at General Electric for 30 years. In addition, John owned/managed “The Jacket House” for over 15 years that served the Burlington Community.
He was a member of Divine Mercy Parish. John shared his faith by speaking to the parish community regarding his love and devotion to our blessed mother Mary, Jesus, and the Church with his talks entitled “The Most Holy Rosary.” He also volunteered as a spiritual leader for the RCIA program through the parish.
Johns many loves included the “Casual Castle” and his log cabin that friends and family enjoyed for close to 40 years. More recent, John and Mary Beth were the host of Burlington’s most famous “Garage Parties” that showcased his collection of his garage sale treasures. John was an avid St. Louis Cardinal fan his entire life, loved the music of Johnny Cash, and acquired the name “The Greatest” from his Boxing hero Muhammad Ali.
John was known for making his hand-made wooden crosses and touching the lives of many he encountered. To date he has given over 1500 crosses that can be found across the country. John lived his life for his family, friends, and church and was known for his great kindness, wit and humor. He brought joy to others and put a smile on the faces of everyone he met. John’s message with the wooden crosses he made was “Life can be tough, so share your cross with God and ask him for strength.”
Survivors include his wife, Mary Beth (dog Cubby); seven children, Brian (Tina) Bennett, Blake (Margie) Bennett, Rock (Cindy) Bennett, Bruce (Laura) Bennett, Mick Bennett, Beth (Brian) Allen, and Tara (Dan) Schroeder; 22 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; three siblings, Bob (Donna) Bennett, Marty (George) Grimshaw, and Sherry (Dean) Kuster.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister-in-law, Donna Bennett.
Cremation has been entrusted to the care of Prugh~Thielen Crematory.
Visitation will begin at noon with the family to receive friends following a 4:00 PM Rosary Service until 7:00 PM Friday, November 10, 2017 at Prugh~Thielen Funeral Home with full military honors rendered by the Burlington Area Veterans Honor Guard to conclude the visitation.
The Memorial Mass of the Resurrection for Mr. Bennett will be 10:00 AM Saturday, November 11, 2017, at Divine Mercy Parish-St. John the Baptist Catholic Church with Fr. Ed Fitzpatrick and Rev. Fr. Bill Roush officiating. A time of food and fellowship will be held in St. John's Cafeteria following the service. Burial will be in Sacred Heart Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Special Needs Foundation and St John’s Catholic Church.