Peter Bennett


Peter Dunne Bennett, formerly of Penn State, passed away earlier this month

Peter Dunne Bennett February 19, 1933 January 4, 2016

Peter was born on February 19, 1933, in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, to A.L. and Jessie (Wentz) Bennett. The second of four boys, his parents and three brothers, David, Al, and Mike predeceased him. He passed away on Monday January 4, surrounded by family. Peter is survived by his wife of 62 years, Mary Lou, of State College; and his daughters Kate (Bruce Truitt), of Austin, Texas and Blythe (Sally Roesch Wagner), of Syracuse, N.Y.; six grandchildren, Allison Nast (David Poliner), Hannah Nast, Bennett Nast, Brandon Truitt, Lydia Truitt, Lauren Truitt; and one great-grand-daughter, Lyra Poliner. Many nieces, nephews, cousins, and sisters-in-laws, as well as countless friends and colleagues also survive him. He was proud of his entire family, and took great pleasure in their accomplishments. As a child, Peter and his family moved around Texas and spent a year in California while his parents taught WW II Air Force mechanics how to repair aircraft. The family settled in Austin after the war, and Peter graduated from Austin High School in 1951. On August 23, 1953, he married Mary Lou Sanders. He attended The University of Texas at Austin and was a member of the ROTC, graduating in 1955, with a BBA then served in the USAF from 1955 to 1957. He became an award-winning data processing salesperson for IBM from 1957 – 1960, having learned how to wire boards and punch cards in the early years of computers. Returning to The University of Texas to pursue Masters and PhD degrees, he, Mary Lou and their young daughters went by freighter down the west coast of South America for a year of research in Santiago, Chile. The story goes that Penn State sent Peter a telegram with a job offer. He didn’t respond so two days later they sent him an offer for more money – a grand salary of $11,200 a year. In 1964, the family returned from Chile and moved to State College where Peter joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Marketing Department of the College of Business. Peter had a long and distinguished career at Penn State from 1964 to 1997. He retired as Associate Dean Emeritus and Professor Emeritus, having periodically served as Chairman of the Marketing Department and later as Senior Associate Dean of the Smeal College of Business. He was President of the Penn State Senate in 1983 – 1984, published articles, wrote an Introductory Marketing textbook and took pride in the successes of his numerous former graduate students. He was a prominent member of the American Marketing Association, providing leadership and served as a consultant for both Kodak International and Herman Miller, traveling around the world teaching classes in Consumer Behavior. Prior to retirement in 1997, Peter enrolled in the then Centre County Vo-Tech program to become more proficient with all aspects of construction to prepare for his volunteer career with Habitat for Humanity. He was involved for many years, planning and building homes and serving as President. The business plan and creation of the Habitat ReStore in Bellefonte was one of his many contributions. He was also involved in the Torch Club, SCORE, Aging in Place, and loved his ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out) group. Peter and Mary Lou were charter members of Diakonia United Presbyterian Church where the mission was to "Bring Good News into Bad News Situations." Peter believed in this mission to his core. He served as Clerk of Session and an Elder. He and Mary Lou were generous contributors of their time and talents for many of State College’s worthiest organizations. At the time of his death, he was a member of University Baptist & Brethren Church, where he and Mary Lou were happy to find a new spiritual home. The family wants to acknowledge the incredible caring and loving staff at Foxdale Village. Dad called Anthony House staff "angels in comfortable shoes". In lieu of flowers, please make any memorial contributions in Peter’s name to either the Mount Nittany Medical Center Emergency Department Charity Fund (1800 E. Park Ave., State College, PA 16803, or the Foxdale Village Training and Tuition Fund (500 E. Marylyn Street, State College, PA 16801). A Celebration of Life will be held at Foxdale Village at a future date. Buen camino, Dad. Arrangements are under the care of Koch Funeral Home, State College. Online condolences and signing of the guest book may be entered at or visit us on Facebook.

This obituary was Published in Centre Daily Times on Jan. 7, 2016