November 1, 1922 – September 4, 2018
LEBANON, NH — Harry was born on November 1, 1922 in Twin Falls, ID to Harry Sr. and Lesley Williams Benoit. He graduated from Twin Falls High School in 1940 and entered the U.S. Naval Academy that summer. He graduated in 1943 under the wartime acceleration program.
He departed San Diego in September 1943 with the destroyer U.S.S. Abbot (DD-629) and returned in September 1945 to Seattle with eight Pacific Theater Battle Stars and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. That same month, he married his high school sweetheart, Arlene Smith.
In March 1946, he put the U.S.S. Fechteler (DD-870) into commission and advanced to Executive Officer that August, becoming a 23-year-old First Lieutenant. In 1948, he was accepted for lighter-than-air flight training, receiving his wings in 1949. After two years of operation with airship squadrons ZP-2 and ZP-3, Harry was ordered to the Navy Bureau of Aeronautics in Washington, DC. Upon the end of his tour, he resigned his commission as a Lieutenant Commander and began a new career in the defense and space industry.
After four years with the Bendix Corporation missile division in Mishawaka, IN, he joined Barnes Engineering Company in Stamford, CT. He worked there for twenty-one years, after which he spent ten years with Automated Sciences Group in Silver Spring, MD. He retired as a senior vice president in 1989 to enjoy his family and friends, play some golf, consult occasionally, and travel extensively. Harry was an honorary lifetime member of the National Defense Industrial Association, a fellow of the National Contract Management Association, a lifetime member of the Naval Academy Alumni Association and Tin Can Sailors, and a member of the Naval Airship Association.
Harry never missed an opportunity to invest in the lives of his grandsons. For over thirty years, he made up bedtime stories with specially requested characters, hosted one-on-one visits, whipped up elaborate meals at the holidays, and never missed a birthday, graduation, engagement, or wedding. It is hard to put into words how dedicated and supportive he was as a husband, father, and Pop Pop. He was truly the patriarch of his family, and the loss of him is immeasurable to them. Harry was sharp, witty, and enjoyed great conversation. He read the paper daily and enjoyed following college and professional sports. He espoused the benefits of a daily martini. People commented that Harry was ahead of his time, always willing to learn something new. He was the embodiment of the greatest generation.
Harry died peacefully on September 4, 2018 after a brief illness, surrounded by his family and listening to his favorite music. He was predeceased by his wife, Arlene, of sixty-two years, daughter Nancy L. Benoit, brothers Ed and Jack Benoit (USNA ‘49), sister Joan Allen, and nephew John Benoit. He is survived by daughters Susan Benoit and Kathleen Little, grandsons Harrison (Sarah), Ryan (Kasey), Tucker, and Wiley Little, and many nieces and nephews and their families.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, MD on November 30th and will be followed by a Celebration of Harry’s life. Inurnment will be in Twin Falls, ID at a later date. To view an online memorial and or leave a message of condolence for the family, please visit, www.rand-wilson.com.
Arrangements were under the direction of the Rand-Wilson Funeral Home of Hanover, NH.