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Fletcher Levone Bennett was born on December 8, 1949, in Winston Salem, NC to the late Geneva Coleman Bennett and Foster Fletcher Bennett. Fletcher departed this world as we know it on August 20,2023 in Columbus NJ. Fletch died in the manner that he lived-at home, peacefully and quietly in his sleep.
Fletch leaves to mourn his wife of 55 years, Marsha Gambles-Bennett; sons Sahib (Micaela), Sharif and Marcus; Grandson Robeson Tobias, Godchildren Caryn Richardson, Michael Rustin and Kamil Rustin; a sister Roslyn Bennett Lentz (Ronald) and a brother, Arthur Preston Bennett (Brenda). His elder sister Barbara Coleman Buie preceded him in death.
Fletcher’s formative years were spent in Winston Salem surrounded by the love of a very large extended family. He attended schools in Winston Salem until leaving to attend Deerfield Academy a preparatory school sponsored by RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company on a full academic scholarship. Fletcher excelled despite being one of the first Black students to attend Deerfield. He became Vice President of the student body and lettering in basketball, baseball, track and field and football. After Deerfield, Fletch was accepted to Columbia University in New York City in 1968 as an Engineering major.
Early on in his studies, Fletch began to devote time to Eastern Religions, and Martial Arts. He excelled in the art of karate and earned a 2nd grade Black Belt under the guidance of Master Numano, a 7th grade Black Belt.
Fletch worked for what is now Spectrum Cable (formally Paragon Cable, and Time Warner Cable) his entire working career, retiring with 47 years of service, unprecedented in today’s working environment. During his service at Paragon, Fletch was very active in IBEW Local 3 helping to build an organizational structure conducive to the needs of his fellow Union members. Fletch was very active in negotiating contracts with Time Warner and IBEW, he was instrumental in developing and teaching programs along with the Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations to enhance the knowledge, policies and processes of his union brothers.
Fletch was a unique individual with a vast knowledge of subjects that ranged from history, music, art and life in general. If ever there was a question on any subject matter, somehow Fletch could address the issue head on and give you all the relevant facts regarding your questions. There was a running joke amongst the family if ever something was questionable or needed some sort of explanation- “Ask Fletch”. We’d laughed that even if he didn’t know the answer he would fuss and make something up and sound convincing.
Fletch had a great love of music early on and was constantly learning to enhance his knowledge. He began his musical journey playing the piano at a young age in Winston Salem, moving on to percussion instruments but Fletcher’s greatest love was the saxophone- mastering the soprano, alto and his beloved tenor. His doctors concluded that it may have been the strength of his lungs that aided him in recovering from Covid in 2020. During that time, it was touch and go along with so many millions of people, but he beat the odds and overcame that dreaded disease.
Fletch is what you would call a Renaissance Man. Someone with a vast knowledge of significant and often insignificant, trivial facts. He loved bird watching especially predatory birds of prey also known as raptors. He loved hawks, falcons, osprey and eagles and he could recite all the characteristics relative to each species.
Fletch was an avid lover of jazz, bebop, classical and all types of ethnic music and its instruments. He thrived on the sounds of Coltrane, Pharoah Saunders, David Murray, Cannonball, Dexter, Roland Kirk and Dizzy to name a few.
For a man of such intellect, we could never quite understand his love for reality TV. He thrived on To Catch a Smuggler, Naked and Afraid, The Flavor of Love, and Surreal Life featuring Flavor Flav to name a few. Magic Don Juan was a favorite character of his. He could recite Pig Meat Markum and Rudy Ray Moore at the drop of a hat.
For all of his craziness, Fletch was a very compassionate and gentle man. If ever he witnessed a need, a person in dire straights he would attempt to make their plight a bit lighter.
He had a very quirky sense of humor and could somehow make a joke out of any bizarre situation. He loved talking about and sampling all the crazy exotic foods that people consume from chicken gizzards, stewed rabbit, possum, squirrel coon and guinea pigs- a delicacy in some Latin countries. Cousin Barry would make sure to find and prepare them all for their eating pleasures. There wasn’t a food that he disliked.
Fletch lived a great life from the quaint small town of Winston Salem to the massive lights of NYC. He made NYC his home and loved the fact that he could find a jazz spot on any given day, time or corner from the infamous Village Vanguard and The Blue Note to the quaint Sam Rivers Studios.
Fletch has moved on but we know that he has left his mark on this world. He loved his Family immensely and would do anything and everything in his power to make them happy. He had a great affinity for education and passed that on to his children and grandson. Anyone that met him eventually referred to him as Uncle Fletch. Fletch will surely be missed by all. We will miss those big, gigantic yet soft hugs, his sweet voice and his gentle mannerisms. We should all strive to be as compassionate and loving as he was. Our Beloved Renaissance Man-Fletcher Levone Bennett