Mary A. Bennett 1916-1999

Mary Bennett

Mary A. Bennett became the first female mayor of Jackson in 1966. (File photo |

I studied city government in the third grade thanks to the League of Women Voters. Actually, it may have been a fourth grade lesson; my classroom was a third/fourth split. Why bother with third grade work when the fourth is learning something more interesting.

Jackson, MI had a council-manager city government–a form of city government favored by 20th Century good government reformers. The League of Women Voters had written a pamphlet on Jackson city government which is what we studied. I remember the pamphlet so it must have been handed out to both third and fourth graders.

Mrs. Bennett’s son was in my HS class; his brother and my brother were friends. She went to our church, but I scarcely knew that. I had little interest in church ladies; I was appalled when I learned that my attractive seventh grade Latin teacher was a church member, and my mother knew her.

Here is Mrs. Bennett’s bio from the work cited below:

Bennett had served as YMCA board president; chairwoman of the mayor’s subcommittee for housing for minorities, the elderly and low-income families; vice chairwoman of the citizens committee for several Union School District (now Jackson Public Schools) bond and millage issues; president of Jackson’s League of Women Voters; Girl Scout troop leader and Boy Scout den mother; First Congregational Church Sunday school teacher; and secretary of the mayor’s committee on city finances.

Her activities evidently were quite progressive for twentieth century Midwestern America.

I don’t know if Mrs. Bennett favored a political party; city officials may have been elected on a non-partisan ballot. I don’t know if she contributed to the LWV pamphlet; certainly it was written by women like her. I like to imagine that she did.


About whungerford

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1 Response to Mary A. Bennett 1916-1999

  1. whungerford says:

    Mrs. Bennett’s elder son, known to me as Gebbie:

    Gerald Bennett was born in 1942 in New Jersey (USA). He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1964. From 1967–1976 he taught at the Basel Conservatory and additionally served as director from 1969–1976. From 1976–1981 he served as head of the department at the Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique (IRCAM) in Paris. Since 1981 he has been professor of music theory and composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Zurich. He co-founded the International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music (ICEM) in 1983 and served as its secretary from 1986–1992. In 1985 he co-founded, with Bruno Spoerri, the Swiss Center for Computer Music. In 1993 he joined the International Academy of Electroacoustic Music of Bourges, France.
    Bennett lives outside Basel.


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