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Mid Hudson TimesThe ‘gentleman politician’

The ‘gentleman politician’

Lawrence Edward “Larry” Bennett ,who served the Town of Newburgh as a councilman and supervisor and later as a state assemblyman in Albany, was laid to rest Monday. The Town of Newburgh native died March 9. He was 92.

“Larry Bennett was not only an inspiration to all of us in government, he was always a tremendous font of wisdom and advice for all of us,” said Newburgh Town Clerk Andrew Zarutskie. “He was the last of the gentleman politicians, and he will be missed.”

Councilwoman Elizabeth Greene, who previously served as Receiver of Taxes for the Town of Newburgh, said Bennett was a strong supporter of local organization, even when he went to Albany.

“Larry was a gentleman at all times,” Greene said. “A pleasure to work with and always the people of the Town of Newburgh came first.”

With the exception of his time in Albany, his service in World War II, and his final years when he moved to New Jersey to be near his children and grandchildren, Bennett spent his entire life in the Town of Newburgh.

Born in Roseton on Sept. 15, 1923, Bennett attended Newburgh schools. He served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, 86th Infantry (Blackhawk) Division, from 1943 until 1946, serving in both the European and Pacific theaters in WWII. He was awarded the Bronze Star with First Oak Leaf Cluster for heroic action in Vohberg, Germany, in April 1945, when he carried a wounded officer to safety under enemy fire after his company’s medic was mortally wounded while attempting to treat the officer.

He returned to Newburgh after the war, taking a job with DuPont (which later became Stauffer Chemical) in 1946. He remained with the company until 1977.

His political career began in 1974, when he was elected to the Newburgh Town Council. He was elected town supervisor four years later in a special election that followed the untimely death of Supervisor J. Malone Bannan.

“Larry was a true inspiration,” said current Town Supervisor Gil Piaquadio. “(He was) a great leader with compassion for everyone he came in contact with.”

Bennett was elected to a full term in 1979, and again in 1981. He resigned from his position in 1982 after being elected to the New York State Assembly. He would serve six terms in Albany before retiring in 1994.

“Larry Bennett served his country faithfully in combat during World War II and in his community as Supervisor of the Town of Newburgh and in the New York State Assembly representing the 96th District,” said State Senator William Larkin. “I enjoyed working alongside of him for many years and will always admire his courage as both a soldier and public servant. Larry always cared more about solving problems than receiving recognition. I will forever cherish our friendship and we all must honor his memory by continuing to serve our community.”

Bennett was pre-deceased by his wife, the former Rosemary Cipriani whom he married July 22, 1951 in Sacred Heart Church, Newburgh.

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