Joseph Francis Bennett Jr. JD '75

Joseph Francis Bennett


Joseph Francis Bennett Jr. JD ’75 passed away December 1, 2020, from conditions related to a stroke suffered July 1, 2019. He was 86 years old.

Born February 1, 1934, in Brooklyn, New York, the only child of Joseph (Sr.) and Mary Bennett, Joe spent his youth playing stickball, cheering his Yankees, and following news of World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1952 and served until 1956, achieving the rank of staff sergeant.

Joe met Colleen, to whom he would be married for over 53 years, while attending Eastern Washington University. He earned a BA degree in electrical engineering from the University of Florida in 1961. Joe worked for a number of California tech companies in the early 1960s and ’70s before, at the age of 38, he decided to switch careers and become a lawyer. The family—now with sons Tim, Tom, and Scott—moved to the Pacific Northwest. Joe practiced law in Spokane, Washington, before taking a job in Portland with the Bonneville Power Administration. He worked in the BPA’s office of general counsel from 1984 until his retirement in January 2010.

Known for his quick wit and love of movies, cars, sports, and weather, Joe was an excellent water-cooler discussion partner. One of his favorite pastimes was shopping for a new car “for Colleen.” At the annual Portland Auto Show, he would spend hours trying out everything on display.

Following Colleen’s passing in 2011, Joe found the courage to remain active and live a meaningful life. He joined the Senior Studies Institute at Portland Community College, where he met lifelong friends with whom he engaged in lively debates about current affairs. He cruised on Russia’s Volga River in 2013 and attended MLB Spring Training in 2019.

Joe is survived by his three sons; daughter-in-law Sarah; former daughter-in-law Nancy; grandchildren Andy, Sami, Ellie, Heidi, and Bekah; and great-grandchild Zane. Joe’s beloved dog, Katie, passed away only four days after his death.