John Rowell Bennett ’53

John Rowell Bennett, a devoted servant of God, family and country, died peacefully Feb. 12, 2024. Born on Lookout Mountain on April 3, 1931, his life was a testimony to the enduring values of being a disciple of Christ.

After graduating from McCallie School in 1949, John continued his education at Davidson College and the University of Chattanooga. He served as a Field Artillery officer in the United States Army, where he not only mastered the art of flying L4 aircraft but also shared his expertise as an instructor. John continued his military career in the Army Reserves, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.

As a career-long salesman in the manufacturing industry, he cultivated meaningful relationships, reflecting his authentic and amiable nature and interest in others.

John’s roots on Lookout Mountain ran deep. He was baptized at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church and gave his life in humble service to the church. He initially volunteered with the youth group, later served as a deacon and elder, facilitated the Fireside Sunday School class for several decades and constantly served in countless quiet ways.

Active in the local community, John was a member of the Fairyland Club, serving on the board and playing tennis with friends well into his late 80s. He will be remembered for his infectious smile, kindness, love of laughter and quick wit.

John leaves behind his beloved wife of 57 years, Laura Smartt Bennett, and is survived by three sons: Bill (Kem) of Birmingham; David (Kingsley) of Lookout Mountain and Jim (Jami) of Birmingham, along with 9 grandchildren (Will (Abby), Betsy Moffett (Cole), Hamilton, Mae Mae, Carter, Hunt, Brooks, Read, Sims) and 1 great-grandchild (Luke). He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Florence Bennett and siblings William, Gigi, Betty and Jim.

A memorial service to celebrate John’s life will be held at 12:00 pm EST (11:00 am CST) on Feb. 24 at Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests gifts to LMPC’s Mercy Fund (

May his memory be a source of comfort and inspiration to all who had the privilege of knowing him.