John Alan Bennett, 70, passed away peacefully in Boise, Idaho on September 18, 2021 at St. Alphonsus Hospital due to complications from COVID. His son Ty, and daughter in law Debbie were by his side during his last moments on this earth. His daughter, Darcy, granddaughter Shelby and grandson Morgan were able to spend some final moments with him in the hospital on the day he passed.
A celebration of his life will be held Saturday, October 2nd, 2021 at 11:00 AM at Gray’s West & Company Pioneer Chapel in Baker City. A reception will follow at Coles Tribute Center.
John Alan Bennett was born on November 5, 1950, to Lyle Conrad Bennett and Arda Irene Bennett (Dixon) in Volga, South Dakota. He was their second child, joining his older brother Larry.
John grew up in Arlington, South Dakota. John lost his mother at the very young age of 2. He attended school in Arlington. The summer before his Senior year (1968), John hitchhiked and hopped box cars to travel from Arlington, South Dakota to Estes Park, Colorado where he landed a job helping with a chuckwagon for a horse wrangling outfit.
It was there that John caught the eye of a young, beautiful horse wrangler who was also working there. The crew was all sitting around the campfire when Bonnie Kay Buri heard John mention South Dakota. Bonnie approached this young cowboy and they got to talking. This conversation revealed that they only lived about 30 miles from each other in South Dakota. John shared with Bonnie that he was an extra in a John Wayne movie “Hellfighters” and had met some big stars. They continued at the same camp for the next week, after which John traveled by hitchhiking and box car hopping to California where his brother Larry was.
John ended up back in Arlington before he was to start his Senior year of high school. When Bonnie returned to South Dakota from her job in Colorado, she informed her parents that she had met a movie star. In October of 1968 she reached out to track down John in Arlington. The couple dated for a month, got engaged in November and married on December 28, 1968, in Watertown, South Dakota.
John quit high school to provide for his family. Bonnie and John traveled to Oregon from South Dakota in the winter of 1969 looking for ranch work. Shortly thereafter they learned that they were expecting a child. Due to lack of work, the couple made their way back to South Dakota where Darcy was born on November 30, 1969. Their son Ty joined the family on November 20, 1971.
Seven years after returning to South Dakota and two kids later, the family packed up their belongings in a horse trailer and moved to Oregon in the Fall of 1975 when Darcy was 6 and Ty was 4. They settled in Baker, and in the spring of 1977, they rented an 80-acre spread. A year later, they purchased 60 acres of the bare pastureland. The couple spent a year building corrals and putting up fencing before they moved to the ranch and started raising longhorn cattle. Their first three buffalo came to the ranch in February of 1981. John and Bonnie parted ways in 1985.
In his younger days John was a brand inspector, but his passion was raising cattle, buffalo, Texas Longhorns and trading livestock. John and Bonnie were the owner-operators of Bennett’s Texas Longhorn & Buffalo Ranch. They also owned and operated Bennett’s Saddle Shop which was located on Broadway St in town.
John was a very handsome man and enjoyed the company of beautiful women. He had a draw and charisma about him that attracted a great deal of lovely ladies. John married a few more times, attempting to find someone to share the rest of his days with.
Not only was John a “movie star”, five of his longhorn cows starred in a Marlboro commercial in July of 1993 bringing in $1,500 for a 3-day stint. John and his livestock were frequently featured in the local newspaper. John was also known to play guitar and sing a bit in his younger days.
John loved sharing his passion for horses and livestock with children of all ages. He lit up when a child took interest in his buffalo, horses, cattle, etc. He took great joy in mentoring these young people, teaching them to ride, rope and wrangle.
In 1998 John swept a bank teller off her feet when he passed a yellow rose through her drive through drawer at the bank. John later married this bank teller, June Woodcock on May 24, 2004. The two enjoyed the company of John’s grandsons, Trevor and Morgan on a regular basis during their time together. John taught the boys many things, including how to spit spit wads in restaurants and not get caught…. He loved taking them to Pizza Hut and the Truck Corral where he excelled in teaching them how to harass waitresses. John also loved a good buffet!
John and June divorced in March of 2013. John expressed in these past few months that he sincerely missed the companionship he and June shared, stating their time together was one of the best periods of his life.
John was a creature of habit and his life consisted of sale days every Tuesday and Thursday. This was his social life as well as his livelihood. He had several business partners in his life, most notably Sweeney Gillette and more recently, Hannah Jones. We are quite certain these two, and many others, have some pretty good stories about John!
John’s pride and joy were his children and grandchildren. He was especially delighted with the birth of his first great grandchild. His second love was his ranch and everything that came with it. He loved sitting in a chair looking at the mountains, the sunrises, and sunsets. He took great pride in the natural beauty that surrounded his property. John’s home remained on his ranch for the rest of his days.
John touched the lives of many. He was a kind man with a huge heart. He would frequently check on others and do things for people out of the blue. He was thoughtful, and people knew he was thinking of them by the cards, calls and as technology developed, texts they would receive from him.
John was preceded in death by his father Lyle, mother Arda, an infant sister Lenae Rose Bennett, and a brother Donald Bennett, many companion animals, to include his dog Sammi. He is survived by a brother, Larry Bennett and his wife Mary; Daughter Darcy Colton and her husband Eric; Son Ty Bennett and his wife Debbie; Grandsons Talon Colton, Trevor Bennett and Morgan Bennett; Granddaughter Shelby Preston; Great-grandson Paycen Preston; Niece Jennifer Teafatiller and Nephew Nicklas Bennett; and his beloved dog Sadie.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Eastern Oregon Chapter of FFA or to the Baker County 4-H Club in care of Gray’s West & Co., 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, Oregon 97814.
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