James Edward Bennett transitioned unexpectedly at home on November 13, 2016 in Lake In The Hills, Illinois at the age of 71.
James is survived by his mother Emma Lee McCreary of Newark, NJ, wife JoAnn W. Bennett (née Bolden) children; Lori-Ann Lucas of Huntley, IL and James E. Bennett II of Belleville, NJ, grandchildren: Gilbert Lucas Jr., Kennedy Lucas, MacKenzie Lucas of Huntley, IL and Imeena Torres, Khamil Torres, Brielle Bennett and Avery Bennett of Belleville, NJ, son in-law; Gilbert Lucas , daughter in-law; Rosa Torres, siblings; Lillie Love-McCarey, Eddie Laura McKenzie, Ossie Taylor, Mildred Crews, Mary Alice McPhatter and Shirley McCreary-Gilchrist; brother-in-laws; Jeffrey Thomas, Rev. Lonzy McCarey, Andy Daniels and Alphonsa Gilchrist, sister-in-law; Mildred Bennett. And a host of nieces and nephews.
James is preceded in death by his father Edward McCreary, siblings;Willie Bennett, Isaac McCreary, Evelyn McCreary and Calvin McCreary, brother-in-laws; James McKenzie, Milton Taylor and Leonard Crews Jr.
James was born on April 3, 1945 in Montgomery, Alabama to Emma Lee McCreary and the late Edward McCreary. As a young child James moved to Newark, New Jersey where he attended elementary and high school.
In 1967 James was drafted into the United States Army and there served his country faithfully in Vietnam as a Sergeant until he was honorably discharged in 1971. He was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal. James returned home to complete is education and graduated from Rutgers University in 1973 with a degree in Business Administration.
In 1973 James began working for the city of Newark as a police officer until 1979 holding various positions as an officer with the Patrol Squad, Decoy Squad, Special Task Force, Alcohol Beverage Control Squad, Vice Squad and the US Marshall Special Task Force. In 1979 James made a decision to transition into the field of communications at Verizon, where he worked as an assistant manager until his retirement in 1991.
In 1974 James married JoAnn W. Bennett (nee Bolden) and legally adopter her daughter Lori-Ann. In 1978 they welcomed the birth of their son James E. Bennett II. James and JoAnn raised their children in East Orange and Newark, New Jersey and in 2009 retired and moved to Lake In the Hills, Illinois.
James was a great family man and a loving father. Nicknamed Jody by those who loved him, he was a social, active man who deeply enjoyed spending time with and bragging about his family. He had a great sense of style and loved fashion. His family and friends will always remember him as a loyal and honest (sometimes too honestJ) person. James was an active and dedicated member of Second Baptist Church of Elgin serving as a trustee and volunteer.
Visitation will be Saturday November 19, 2016 from 10:00 am to time of service at 11:00 am at Second Baptist Church 1280 Summit St. Elgin, IL 60120 and Visitation will be also held Tuesday November 22, 2016 at Whigham Funeral Home 580 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Newark, N.J 07102 (973)-622-6872. Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Symonds-Madison Funeral Home 305 Park Street Elgin, IL 60120. For more information please visit www.symondsmadisonfuneralhome.com or 847-741-1128