Dan Bennett, owner of Bennett Hardware, and a longtime fixture of Blackshear’s business community is remembered this week as a “kind soul,” a “gentle spirit” and a prime example of “true customer service.”
Bennett, 78, passed away Thursday evening, July 4, at the Baptist Village Retirement Communities in Waycross. He had been in declining health since shortly after closing his business in September, 2018.
“Dan has been a dear friend of mine for 40 years. He was a man of few words but always very friendly. I enjoyed his wit and wisdom,” said Bennett’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Bill Young. “I am comforted that I will see my dear friend again in heaven.”
A native of Pierce County, Bennett was a graduate of Patterson High School and the University of Georgia, where he earned a degree in business.
After teaching at Blackshear High School for a couple of years, Bennett put his degree to good use and opened Bennett Hardware in 1971. His affable manner turned him and his store into a household name in Pierce County and throughout Southeast Georgia.
With a kind word, friendly disposition and humble spirit, Bennett had served literally thousands of customers. The service and one-on-one attention he gave them has kept them coming back and before his retirement, even spanned a couple of generations of Pierce County families.
Bennett worked six days a week and most holidays, and was only a call away if a customer needed something after hours.
Bennett said at his retirement last year, that he enjoyed his long career with the store.
“I have had a good long trip,” he said. “I have enjoyed meeting the people and helping to meet their needs.”
Bennett was often sought out for his advice, knowledge and skill on everything from home improvement, gardening, tools and equipment to even key making and he was known for his gift as “a plant and garden whisperer”. He often provided his wisdom to those seeking tips for growing plants and vegetables.
In addition to the hardware store, Bennett was devoted to his church, First Baptist, where he served in various roles.
Young recalls Bennett served on the baptism committee at First Baptist for over 20 years.
“He has been one of the go to guys helping me baptize new converts at First Baptist,” he said.
Bennett was also civic minded, serving on the Blackshear City Council and Pierce County Industrial Development Authority and helping to found the Blackshear Jaycees. He also enjoyed Pierce County Sports.
Bennett was a devoted family man to his late wife, Jeanette, and to their two children, Darby and Dan Jr. and grandchildren.
Graveside funeral services were held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 6, from the Ramah Cemetery.
For a complete obituary, please see page 3.