Mr. Walter Bennett, 75, formerly of North Main Street in Wilkes-Barre's North End neighborhood and also Scranton, passed peacefully into Eternal Life Wednesday afternoon while in the care of Allied Services Center City Skilled Nursing Center, Wilkes-Barre, formerly Saint Luke's Villa, following a prolonged struggle with Parkinson's disease.
Born March 16, 1945 in Wilkes-Barre, he was the only child to the late Walter B. and Mary T. (Sirocky) Paluchowski. A man of great intellect, his education began as a graduate of the James M. Coughlin High School, Wilkes-Barre. He continued by attaining an Associate's degree from Pennsylvania State University Wilkes-Barre campus and later his Bachelor's degree in astronomy from Marlboro College, now Emerson College, Marlboro, VT. Following his formal education, he proudly served with the United States Army Reserve.
Although not pertaining to his course of study, he retired from the Diocese of Scranton as former Director of Diocesan Catholic Cemeteries, a position he held for several years. He also worked as an engineer for both the former Commonwealth Telephone Company and DuPont Technologies.
Having a fascination with the celestial heavens, he previously worked in Mt. Wilson California with the operations team of the Hubble Telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory; taught astronomy at Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus and even built an amateur observatory in the back yard of the family's North End residence.
Walter also had a passion for the physics and engineering of how machinery worked and was constructed. In his youth, he built a Bucyrus-Monighan 10-W walking steam drag line which was later donated to Penn State Wilkes-Barre campus as a model for their engineering classes. He single-handedly made casts for each bolt and gear used in the shovel's overall construction. Images of his work can be seen by visiting www.BennettShovel.com.
His talents and thought processes will be greatly missed by all those he knew in this life. In his spare time and being a lover of music, specifically anything from the Beatles, he was self-taught on the guitar.
Along with his parents, Walter was most recently preceded in death by his loving Godmother, Mrs. Betty Pirnick on September 25, 2019.
Left to cherish the wonderful memories they have of him are several cousins, colleagues, neighbors and dear friends including Pat O'Neil, Barb Nanstiel, Carol Risch, Jerry Wall, Dwight and Judy Nunemacher and Monsignor Vincent J. Grimalia, who celebrated special occasions and birthdays with Walter while at the nursing home. Special thanks to his good buddy and travel companion to several heavy equipment shows, Keith Haddock and to Sue & Bryn Kehrli for the many cards and letters they sent to lift his spirits during trying times.
His caregivers would like to gratefully acknowledge the staff of Allied Services and Saint Luke's Villa for the compassion and patience they showed Walter during his stay with them.
Funeral services for Mr. Bennett will be conducted on Saturday with his memorial funeral Mass at 11:00 a.m. in the Parish of Saint Andre Bessette, 668 North Main Street, Wilkes-Barre. The Reverend Kenneth M. Seegar, pastor, will serve as celebrant and homilist. Facial masks are required for those in attendance while the funeral home staff will ensure spatial seating is observed to comply with social distancing requirements.
Interment will follow in Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Cemetery of Saint Andre Bessette Parish, Dorchester Drive, Dallas, where the Rite of Committal will be conferred.
Relatives and friends are invited to gather for visitation and shared remembrances directly at church Saturday morning from 10:30 a.m. until the time of services.
In lieu of floral tributes, memorial donations in Walter's memory are kindly suggested for the Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
The John V. Morris Family Funeral Homes Inc. of Wilkes-Barre are honored to care for our friend and neighbor, Mr. Bennet at this time.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Walter Bennett, please visit our floral store.
Saint Jude Children's Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis TN 38105