Fallen Warriors

Gregory Bennett - Class Of 1969

KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. - Gregory LeGrand Bennett, 57, of Colington Harbour, died peacefully at home (Sep 25, 2009) after a brave and inspiring three year battle with cancer, surrounded by his family and best friends.
He was born in San Antonio, Texas, the third child of the late Lt. Col. John M. Bennett and Mary LeGrand Bennett. As the son of a military officer, he grew up all over the world, including Korea and Japan, and eventually settled near Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va., where he graduated from Kecoughtan High School in 1969. After graduating with a BS in Corrections from East Carolina University in 1973, he was employed as a juvenile probation officer in Newport News, Va. It was in Newport News that he met and married his wife Jill.
In 1978 he changed careers and entered the world of retail management for Ski Center in Norfolk, Va. Jill soon joined him in the ski business, and in 1983 they opened Birthday Suits in Nags Head, N.C. In 1984, they exited the ski business and moved permanently to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where together they developed Birthday Suits into a four store, nationally recognized swimwear/beachwear chain of stores. Birthday Suits was one of the first stores on the Outer Banks to sell the iconic OBX sticker, and in 1999 Greg and Jill also became partners in OBX Stock, Inc, manufacturers and distributors of the OBX logo, now recognized worldwide.
Greg was a board member of the national Board Retailers Assn and extremely generous in giving his time and energy to numerous Outer Banks charitable organizations, including the Outer Banks Marathon, Dare County Arts Council, Surfrider Foundation, Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, and Relay For Life . He touched the lives of hundreds of children as a volunteer basketball and softball coach and referee for Dare County Parks and Recreation, and as a co-coach of the 2001-2002 First Flight Middle School girls' softball team. He attended Colington United Methodist Church. Greg was an avid surfer, skier, boater, golfer, and fisherman, and, even though he was an East Carolina Pirate, he adored UNC Tarheel basketball. He will be remembered for his dry and witty sense of humor, which remained with him through his final days.
Greg considered his most proud accomplishment to be the raising of his beloved children. He leaves behind his loving wife of 31 years, Jill Garvey Bennett; his son and daughter, Dylan Gregory Bennett and Alexa Garvey Bennett; his brother and sister-in-law, John Mark Bennett and Joan Putney of Richmond, Va.; his sister, Allison Bennett Foster of Norfolk, Va.; his brothers and sisters-in-law, Thomas and Patricia Crockett of Vinton, Va., and William and Luanne Garvey of Sweetwater, N.J.; and his nieces and nephews, Kristen and Corey Bennett, Meghann and Caitlyn Foster, Kevin and Kim Crockett, and Lia and Drew Garvey. He will be sadly missed by his best friends, Rick and Pam Gray of Kill Devil Hills, N.C., Jim and April Vaughn of Kitty Hawk, N.C., and Dave and Robin Wingfield of Williamsburg, Va.; his loyal staff of Birthday Suits managers and employees and his many friends and colleagues from his 27 years in the surf industry.
A celebration of life will be held at St. Andrews By The Sea Episcopal Church, 4212 S. Virginia Dare Trail, M.P. 13 1/2, Nags Head, N.C., at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 28. A reception will be held immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Outer Banks Relay For Life , c/o East Carolina Bank, P.O. Box 399, Nags Head, NC 27959 "Memory of Greg Bennett."
Twiford Funeral Homes, Colony Chapel, Manteo, N.C., is assisting the family with arrangements.

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09/26/09 09:05 PM #1    

Bonnie Bridger (Mittelmaier) (1969)

I met Greg at Benjamin Syms JHS way back when. We were all loving being in "JHS", enjoying basketball games, football games, pep rallies, all the things that kids think is "grown up". Then off to KHS, oh boy, we had really arrived!!!! Greg never changed, he was always that guy with the ready smile and laugh. Even when he was serious, he was funny. He signed my annuals and the school picture (remember those little tiny pictures we got in JHS?) he gave to me as "Grins". It was so appropriate for him. I lost contact with Grins over these last 40 years, but strangely never felt disconnected from him. My heart is broken for this loss of him and for his family and friends. Still time cannot dim my memory of his smiling face.

10/01/09 10:47 AM #2    

Penelope Black (Brown) (1969)

What a great life he had! I remember he and his wife telling me about The Birthday Suit at the 20th reunion. I have pictures of them from the family picnic...To think he just died last week- hope someone will let his family know how much he will be missed. Penny Black Brown

10/07/09 03:09 AM #3    

Paul Supan (1969)


I was just on the phone talking to JerryQ when he told me that Greg had passed away. I was stunned.

I first met Greg while he was at Benjamin Syms, and he was in my Spanish Class with a Mrs. Cuervo. We were all assigned Spanish names and so he became " Gregorio". We all had to recite these horrid little dialogues such as " Hola Paco, blah blah blah..whatever... " I remember Greg used to think it was just plain stupid... and reflecting back...he was spot on...those dialogues really were silly.

Greg had just pulled in from Korea, where his parents were stationed with the military, USAF I believe. I also remember in later years that really cool 1965 or 1966 white Rambler Ambassador 990 4 door sedan that he used to drive. I always liked that car. I think Charlotte Cann also used to drive an older ?? 1957 or 1969 Rambler. It is amazing ... those cars are all antiques now. Ugh.... so am I :-). Maybe fossil is more appropriate.

In later years Greg was also I think in the KHS Key Club. I really really just have a hard time accepting that he is now gone. I can't believe that I am attending a 40th anniversary High School Reunion. I guess I don't feel old... but... truth be told... I am. I guess we all are.

That is why I am looking forward to seeing precious friends from 1969...and indeed am sad... that the last time I saw Greg was 20 years ago at the 20th KHS Reunion. Greg.. you will be very much missed.. by many many people...


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