Cover photo for Mr. Thomas Stephen "Tom" Bennett, Sr.'s Obituary
Mr. Thomas Stephen "Tom" Bennett, Sr. Profile Photo
1934 Tom 2024

Mr. Thomas Stephen "Tom" Bennett, Sr.

January 26, 1934 — July 9, 2024

Morehead City

Mr. Thomas Stephen "Tom" Bennett, Sr., 90, of Morehead City, North Carolina, passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday, July 9, 2024.

A gathering of family and friends will be held from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., Saturday, July 13th at Munden Funeral Home. The family will honor Mr. Bennett's life with a private memorial service before the gathering.

Tom was born on January 26, 1934, in Morehead City, NC, to the late Jesse Gilbert Bennett and Veta Merrill Bennett. His early education began at Morehead City Grade School where he received the American Legion Best All Around Student Award as well as the Best Debater Medal in 8th grade. In high school, Tom served as President of his Junior and Senior Classes, was an active voice in the Student Government Council, and competed on the Debate Team where he was the school and county winner of the "I Speak for Democracy" speech contest. Tom was selected to attend Boys' State, played on the school's Basketball, Baseball, and Football Teams, and was a member of the school Chorus and Band. In 1952, Tom graduated from Morehead City High School and received the American Legion Best All Around Student Award.

Tom's higher education was completed at the University of North Carolina where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1956 and his Bachelor of Laws Degree in 1958. While in Chapel Hill, he was a member of the Order of the Old Well, Student Legislature, Dialectic Senate, Carolina Political Union, Student Political Party, Debate Society, and the Debate Team. During Law School, he authored 2 articles in the Law Review, was in the Men's Honor Council, and was the editor of the placement brochure of the class of 1958.

Upon graduating and passing the NC State Bar examination in August of 1958, Tom served as clerk to Justice William B. Rodman of the NC Supreme Court for one year and then returned to Morehead City and entered into the practice of law with Claud R. Wheatly, Jr. in Beaufort, beginning June 15, 1959. Ten years later on June 15, 1969, Tom set up practice in Morehead City which continued until his retirement in 2010. In August of 1970, Tom was joined by Samuel A. McConkey, Jr. and the firm became Bennett and McConkey, P.A. In 1973, James W. Thompson, III joined the firm, and it became Bennett, McConkey and Thompson P.A.

Tom had extensive involvement in community service, serving as a House member of the NC General Assembly, Sessions 1963 and 1965; Carteret County Commissioner, 1968-1976, and Chairman 1968-1973; President of the Neuse River Council of Governments, 1972-1974; Chairman, NC Republican Executive Committee, 1973-1975; Chairman, Carteret County Republican Executive Committee, 1965-1968; Member, Neuse River Development Authority, 1987-1989; President, Atlantic & NC Railroad, 1973-1977; Chairman, NC Marine Resources Center, 1974-1976; Member, NC Marine Resources Advisory Committee, 1973-1975; Chairman, NC Marine Science Council, 1975-1976; Chairman, NC Marine Fisheries Commission, 1987-1992; Member, UNC Board of Visitors, 1974-1978 and 1989-1992; Member, Board of Directors, UNC Alumni Association, 1982-1986. Tom was a member of Bogue Banks Baptist Church and was a member and officer of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Lodge 1710, of Morehead City. He loved playing golf with his fellow Goober Peas at Morehead City Country Club, and at age 75, he won the club championship at Valencia Golf Club in Naples, FL, earning a Guiness World Record at that time as the oldest person to ever win a regular club championship.

Tom's accolades include being named Tar Heel of the Week by the Raleigh News & Observer Newspaper in 1974. In 1969, Tom was the recipient of the Morehead City Jaycee Distinguished Service Award. One of his greatest honors was in 1973 when he was the recipient and inductee into The NC Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor in NC, presented by Governor James E. Holshouser, Jr.

With all of his accomplishments, Tom would tell you his greatest joy came from his family. On October 7, 1961, he married the love of his life, Virginia Lou Thompson "Blossom" Bennett. They created a beautiful life together and their family grew to include 3 children, 5 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren.

Those remaining to cherish his memory are his loving wife, Virginia "Blossom" Bennett; children, Thomas Stephen "Tommy" Bennett, Jr. and wife Wanda of Morehead City, Ruth Bennett Wagner and husband Casey of Morehead City and David Bryan Bennett and wife Emma of Wake Forest, NC; grandchildren, Thomas S. Bennett, III and wife Ashley, Virginia Davis Rodgers and husband Brady, Seth Howell Davis, Evan Beaumont Bennett, and Kendall Thompson Bennett; and great-grandchildren, Charley Kate Bennett, Bennett Paul Rodgers, Callahan Rose Bennett, and Sutton Davis Rodgers.

In addition to his parents, Thomas was preceded in death by his brother, Jesse Gilbert Bennett, Jr.

As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be made to Young Life, P.O. Box 461, Morehead City, NC 28557.

Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences,

Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory in Morehead City, NC.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Mr. Thomas Stephen "Tom" Bennett, Sr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Gathering of Family & Friends

Saturday, July 13, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Munden Funeral Home & Crematory

2112 Arendell St, Morehead City, NC 28557

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