Published in The Daily Reflector on April 28, 2013
WILSON Jonathon Scott Bennett, 21, died Wednesday, April 24, 2013.
Funeral services will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, First Baptist Church, 311 W. Nash St, Wilson, followed by visitation.
Jonathon Scott Bennett came into this world on Friday, January 31, 1992, at 8:33 a.m. Even on that day we saw something unique in him, amazed at how a fresh newborn soul could look like a little man instead of a baby. He had a full head of hair, as full as the life he was just beginning.
Jonathon let his sister speak for him until he was well past two years old. When he decided to talk, he used full sentences. His sister taught him to read when he was four, but was careful not to let his kindergarten teacher know. She figured it out one day when he told the other kids what was on the lunch menu.
Jonathon attended Estes Hills Elementary School in Chapel Hill through fourth grade. His fifth and sixth grade years were at Nashville Elementary and Middle Schools in N.C. He was a middle school student at Forest Hills in Wilson where he explored every extra curriculur activity that the teachers offered except for science, which would later become his passion. At Forest Hills, he played baseball, basketball, trumpet and sang in the chorus. He was a Math TIPS scholar, winner of the Optimist Oratorical Contest Award, a team member for Battle of the Books, Knowledge Masters, Spelling Bee Champion, and a leader in the Student Government. He was the 2005 National Geographic Society School Bee Winner. He was the unique student who could juggle it all and still earn high academic status. He had the extraordinary ability to fully focus on the task in front of him, pursuing his interests wholeheartedly..
Jonathon s years at Fike High School in Wilson were equally full with academic achievement, music, sports, and friendships, and anything that championed the team. The Chorus was his playground, and he participated all four years and became its President. He was selected for the North Carolina Honors Chorus for four years (a rarity amongst students), and attended the North Carolina Governor s School in Choral Studies during the summer of 2008.
Jonathon also earned a spot on the JV Basketball team and ran track for four years. He loved his 4×4 and 4×8 relay teams, and also competed in the 400 and 800 meter individual races, his 2010 1600 meter relay team placed in the 3A Regional and State Championship in 2010. During his Senior year he placed ninth in the North Carolina State Track meet for the 800 meter event.
Jonathon s academics were strong and he regularly earned top awards for English, Math and character. He was selected for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards conference and the National Student Leadership Conference in Medicine at the University Maryland.
Even with his high involvement with school activities, Jonathon found time for community events. In April 2006, he stepped into a role in the Wilson Playhouse Theater production of Hello, Dolly! with two short weeks to learn his lines, the choreography and songs. On opening night, he applied his basketball jumps to a solo dance leap and the audience broke out in spontaneous applause, and Jonathon was hooked. He went on to perform roles in Wilson s ACT for Youth in The Wizard of Oz, Beauty and the Beast, The Mouse that Roared, and You re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, where he played the role of Schroeder. While everyone knows that Schroeder s tiny piano doesn t really play, Jonathon wanted everything to look authentic to the last detail, so he learned to play Beethoven s Moonlight Sonata by heart. After all, his Mom and his Aunt Barbara would know the difference.
Jonathon studied voice with Elizabeth Winstead for four years and won second place awards in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) on both the district and regional levels in 2008. He played percussion for the Tar River Children s Chorus in Rocky Mount and trumpet with the Starlight Dance Band in Goldsboro. He attended basketball camps at Junior Prep Stars, UNC and Duke University. He attended a National Leadership Camp in Medicine during the summer of 2009, and worked with Dr. Ted Brna for his Senior Project, presenting to the Wilson Medical Association a need for a stronger vaccinations in communicable disease.
He began ECU as a biochemistry major and an Honors Scholar and soon joined the Student Ambassadors. In his sophomore year, he changed his major to his real passion, geographic information science and technology and became a member of the Geo-Bowl. He was an Official with ECU Intramural Sports and an Expo at Winslow s Deli.
Jonathon was fast. He learned fast, he thought fast, he lived fast and he made friends quickly. He collected more friends in his years than most people do over decades. His friends were international students, folks from the hood as well as from the hill, every age and from every walk of life. He genuinely enjoyed people.
He loved to travel, loved the beach, and particularly deep sea fishing with his cohort Lou. He recently earned citations for landing a white marlin and a sailfish. He loved his ECU sailing class. He loved basketball and was a rabid Duke fan.
There is so much more to tell. His friends hold as many stories as his family, and if you have a memory to tell, please write it down and send to his mother at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your stories and thoughts will be cherished by his family and help them to move through the difficult days to come.
Jonathon s life on earth ended without warning, in a split second in a tragic accident. The circumstances were so unlikely that it surely must have been his time to leave us. Like the Christian and Eagle Scout that he was, he was prepared for his eternal journey. In that instance when the heavens opened up and received him with open arms he heard the Divine greeting, Welcome home, my son.
Jonathon Scott Bennett is survived by his sister Kristine, mother Rita, and father John Bennett. His immediate extended family includes cousins Christopher and Kyle, sons of Aunt Lisa Whaley Whittle; Uncle Bob and Aunt Barbara Bennett Byrd; Great Uncle Lowell Hall. He had a special connection to his Uncle Troy Dale Whaley. Jonathon s grandparents and an aunt preceded him in death, Aunt Marilynn Bennett Brooks, Bob and Lurline Bennett, Troy and Evelyn Nana Whaley. Jonathon also adopted spare grandparents Lou and Elaine Craig.
Memorials are suggested to the Jonathon Bennett Memorial Fund, PO Box 7185, Wilson, NC 27895.
Arrangements by Wilson Memorial Service, 2811 Fieldstream Dr, N, 252-237-7171, www.wilsonmemorialservice.com