This is a statement released by the Alabama Republican Party following the passage of its former chairman, Richard "Dick" Bennett:
Birmingham, AL – The Alabama Republican Party is saddened by the news that former Party Chairman Richard "Dick" Bennett has passed away. Mr. Bennett served as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party from 1969-1975, and was part of a movement that laid the groundwork on which our Party was built in Alabama.
Mr. Bennett grew up in Wilcox and Monroe counties, attended the University of Alabama, and moved on to join the U.S. Army after which he established a career in the lumber and timber business. Mr. Bennett also leaves a legacy in aviation as he established the Pensacola Aviation Center.
During his time as Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party, Mr. Bennett recognized the importance of fundraising and was instrumental in the creation of the "Capitol Club" fundraising effort. The Capitol Club program still exists today and serves as the core donor level in the Party's financial structure. Bennet also had the difficult task of leading the Party from the convention system to the primary system that we use in our electoral process today.
Rep. Mike Hubbard (R-Auburn), Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party expressed his gratitude for Bennett's leadership of the Party:
"When you look at the success that we had in 2010, it's hard to believe that there was a time when there were hardly any Republicans in Alabama," Hubbard said. "But folks like Dick Bennett were working diligently to lay the foundation for the Alabama Republican Party – we appreciate his service and offer our condolences to his family."
Edgar Welden, who succeeded Mr. Bennett as Chairman of the Party, reflected on Bennett's legacy:
"Dick was not only my mentor in the Party, as he was to so many, but he was a dear friend," Welden said. "He was a visionary and a leader who transformed the Alabama Republican Party, and with out his efforts over 40 years ago, the Party wouldn't be in the position that we are today."
Graveside funeral services will be held on Saturday, November 20, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. at Magnolia Cemetery with Rev. Joe Lisenby officiating and Dunklin & Daniels Funeral Home directing. The family will receive friends at the Bennett's home, 545 Bala Clava Dr. Greenville, AL, immediately following graveside services.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to Alacare Hospice, 321 Greenville Bypass #1, Greenville, AL, 36037.