Home > Uncategorized > Myron C. Bennett, 1933-2010

Myron C. Bennett, 1933-2010

It finally happened.  My father passed away Saturday morning, August 7, 2010, at the age of 77, due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.  Parkinson’s is not terminal in itself, but it can leave one vulnerable to other dangers, and it all sort of added up over the past several months.  The doctors treated every problem that came up, but eventually it just reached the point of no return.  In any case, he left us too soon.  He was the youngest of Mary and Emmett Bennett’s four children, but the first to pass away.  That’s just not right.

But in a way, it’s a relief.  These last couple of months were difficult as his health deteriorated, and he wouldn’t have wanted to linger or become a burden.  He was ready for this, and his slow fading gave my sister and me an opportunity to get ready as well, to say our goodbyes and ease into acceptance, to get help from hospice workers and others to cushion the transition.  Under the circumstances, it was as gentle a passing as we could’ve hoped for.

For some reason, my phone was on the fritz when it happened, so my sister came over in person to tell me the news, which is really for the best.  I then went with her and her fiancé to the funeral home to make arrangements, and then we went to get an early dinner (or, for them, an extremely late lunch).  At my suggestion, we went to Steak n’ Shake, which was a place my father and I liked to eat at on occasion.  It was a good meal and a good conversation.  We connected well, in a way I don’t think we ever have before, and I’m very grateful for that.  I was actually feeling pretty good after that.  I figured I’d already come to accept that he was gone and maybe had been through the worst of it.

So then the next day I went to see Inception.  I’d been wanting to see it, but knew I might get The Call at any moment, so didn’t want to be in a theater with my phone off for two and a half hours.  But now I was off the hook and I needed to keep myself occupied, so I went to see the movie.  And there’s a part of the movie where Cillian Murphy’s character has to deal with his elderly father dying.  Plus the central plot of the movie also involves the loss of a loved one.  So that triggered a catharsis, and I was sobbing for a while after that.  It’s been hitting me on and off since then.

It’s startling to discover how much ordinary life goes on even in the face of something like this.  Maybe it would be different in the case of a sudden death, one where there hasn’t been adequate time to prepare and make peace, one where there hasn’t been the kind of support and help I’ve had over the past couple of months.  But dealing with death isn’t just melodrama and intense emotion like in stories.  There’s so much that’s more mundane to deal with, both in your own life and in dealing with the possessions of the departed and so forth.  And the grieving and the memories become part of that tapestry of everyday life, not overwhelming it but integral with it.  This will be a part of me from now on, change who I am and how I think.  I no longer have a parent, and I’m still a long way from fully discovering what that will mean for me.

The memorial service is on Thursday, and we have family coming in from Detroit.  I’m sure my father’s colleagues from WGUC-FM will be there too.  These are people I haven’t seen in quite a few years, and now that I’ve lost the one person I’ve been at all close to on an ongoing basis (though I didn’t really realize how close), I’m regretting that, and hoping to renew some connections.

The basic obituary listing is here.  But John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer has written a very nice article commemorating my father’s life and his important role in the Cincinnati broadcasting and arts community.  Here’s the link:

Myron Bennett, 77, WGUC host

The Cincinnati native joined WGUC-FM in 1961, six months after it began broadcasting. He retired as “PM” host and music programmer in 1992, after 31½ years.

“His knowledge of classical music made him a first-class announcer and an extraordinary music programmer. His many years at WGUC contributed greatly to its success,” says Ann Santen, former WGUC-FM general manager.

“He was a man of taste, passion, intelligence, humor and nuance,” says [John] Birge, who was mentored by Mr. Bennett 1982-92. “Above all, he was a man committed to sharing what he loved with radio listeners.”

A memorial gathering will be 4-6 p.m. Thursday at Craver-Riggs Funeral Home & Crematory, 529 Main St., Milford.

The family suggest memorial donations be made to WGUC-FM, 1223 Central Parkway, 45214 (www.wguc.org/support/) or the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Attention Tribute Gifts, Church Street Station, PO Box 780, New York, NY 10008-0780. (www.michaeljfox.org/help_honorMemoryGifts.cfm).

Mr. Kiesewetter also did a blog post with a picture of my father, which is probably a couple of decades old at least.  I’m rather surprised they found one.  He was a very private person, resistant of celebrity, and always tried to avoid getting his picture in the paper or on TV.  I remember when WGUC did a TV commercial showcasing photos of their various on-air personalities, slowly fading into view over the sound of their voices; he would only agree to do it so long as the shot of him cut away while it was still blurry.

WGUC’s website has put up its own memorial page for my father:

http://www.wguc.org/myron_bennett/index.asp

It contains a link to a long autobiographical essay he wrote for them two years ago.  I’m glad he came out of his shell and left that legacy.  I’m sure he did it out of the same desire that drove him throughout his life: to teach people about the wonder and power of music in all its endless variety.

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  1. Marc Hart
    August 10, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    My condolences.

  2. August 10, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  3. August 10, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Sorry for your loss, Christopher.

  4. Barrie Suddery
    August 11, 2010 at 5:37 am

    My sincerest condolences on your recent loss.

    When my grandparents began dying (they’re all deceased now) I also found that grieving wasn’t something that hit me straight away. It took a few days for everything to sink in and by then, I was back dealing with day-to-day life.

  5. August 11, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind thoughts.

  6. November 6, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Dear Christopher, I just recently found out from Ken Harbaum abut your fathe’s passing. I had been a good friend of his since first meeting in Sept. 1952. If you’re interested in hearing some of our stories let me know. Best regards, June Welsh Echols

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