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A funeral Mass for Claire Thomas Bennett, 84, of Coos Bay, will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, April 7, at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 2250 16th St. in North Bend, with Father Karl Schray, officiating. A recitation of the rosary will precede the Mass at 10:30 a.m. A reception will take place in the Parish Hall immediately following the service. A graveside service will be held at 11 a.m., Monday, April 9 at the Holy Trinity Catholic Cemetery, north end of Harlem Ave. in Bandon.
Claire Thomas Bennett was born Dec. 1, 1933 in Phoenix, Ariz., to Emery Kent Goodykoontz and Angeles Adelaide Lemon. Claire changed his legal name from Claire Kent Goodykoontz around 1951. He passed away on Good Friday, March 30, 2018 in Medford, Oregon.
Claire was a graduate of Mater Dei High School in Santa Anna, Calif. He attended Orange County Community College and received his bachelor’s degree at Long Beach State. He received his continuing education degree at Portland State University.
Claire married Lorna Mae Walker Feb. 4, 1956, in Orange County, Calif. In 1961 they moved to Ophir, where they gardened and raised animals on a small farm. Claire taught seventh grade at Ophir School and coached basketball and physical education. He was a 4-H leader for many years.
In 1978, they moved to Bandon, where he taught and coached at Bandon Junior High, until retiring in 1993. He later spent time at the middle school volunteering to help youth in reading comprehension.
Claire dedicated his life to serving others; he served in active duty as a United States Marine in Korea and later served in the Oregon U.S. Army National Guard. He was active in the Knights of Columbus, serving many years as lector and pro-life chairman, as well as, editor of the monthly newsletter. He was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Bandon for many years and assisted with daily Mass, as well as, taking communion to the sick and homebound. He also was actively involved with the Cursillo movement.
Claire enjoyed the outdoors and had a passion for running and biking. He logged thousands of miles on the trails and beaches of Bandon. He was a member of the South Coast Running Club and for years, he organized the Run off Hunger charity run. He camped in the summer with his family and had a great love of the water, spending vacations in Hawaii and Mexico with Lorna so he could explore under water.
Claire is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lorna Bennett of Bandon; children, Jim and Ann (Bennett) DeLong of North Bend, Dennis and Kolleen Bennett of Milton-Freewater, Bruce and Debbie Bennett of Eagle Point, and Alan and Shelly Bennett of Medford; eight grandchildren, Christina Ryback, Rachel DeLong, Brandon Bennett, Cody Bennett, Holly Bennett, Justin Bennett, Kati (Bennett) Funderburk and Jess Bennett; great-grandchildren, Cooper and JayDee Funderburk, Trinity, Blain, Calista and Jonah Bennett, Morgan and Evalynn Ryback, Liam Nyleen and Odin DeLong; brother, Dale Bennett and wife, Barbara; sisters, Elaine Henry and husband, Joe, and Eula Weaver and husband, Bill; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorial contributions in his name can be made to Knights of Columbus, 2250 16th St. North Bend, Oregon 97459.
Arrangements are under the care of Coos Bay Chapel, 541-267-3131.
Friends and family are encouraged to sign the online guestbook at www.coosbayareafunerals.com and www.theworldlink.com.