Speed enthusiast Ron Bennett dies

By Ken Burdick

Ron Bennett of Monmouth, Ore., passed away on Friday, May 15, 2020. Ron had suffered from complications to his weight and has been in poor health off and on since 2018.

His wife, Judy, said he was peaceful and fell asleep while holding her hand and then finally stopped breathing. In today's world, that is the most one could hope for.

Ron was born on March 30, 1948, in Burbank, Calif. He was an avid modeler until an engine scared his daughter. After that, modeling was put aside for a number of years. Ron flew free flight with Bob Hunter of Satellite City fame, and would build airplanes in their living room. In his younger years he was smitten with control-line Speed.

He must have lived a colorful life. He started and ran an advertising agency/photography business in Los Angeles in the early 1970s. A couple of his more famous clients were Big Brother and the Holding Company (the band that featured Janis Joplin) and Firesign Theater. Anybody who listened to underground radio in the mid 1960s and rolled their own knew of these famous groups.

The advertising business is plastered with deadlines. Ron was making a mess of one and enlisted the help of his printer to correct many things and take the text to its final form. The printer, Judy, it turns out, later became his wife.

Ron and Judy retired in the 1980s at some point and moved to Monmouth. 

Ron returned to flying models in Monmouth and pursued his youthful dream of flying control-line Speed models, which had garnered his attention as a boy but he had never had the opportunity to pursue, only watch. So, in the early 2000s he returned to his old hobby with a new twist of helping other modelers with equipment. Well known and liked by many modelers and Speed flyers in the Northwest, Ron was active in flying Speed models with Scott Newkirk and other friends up until 2018 when health issues made it difficult for him to attend contests.

I first met Ron at the swap meet in Monroe, Wash. He knew of me but not the other way around. He was an avid supporter of the new events that I and others were developing. He bought the first two F2D Proto Speed planes I built. While I had no idea the size of his model collection until I visited him and Judy at their home, I was overwhelmed by the scale of the collection. It was like seeing an Italian museum, literally crammed with priceless works of art. Models and engines from every major name in control line Speed were there, and I was speechless.

Among several other minor passions, Ron at one point was a bee keeper! This tickled my funny-bone as did his moniker “Oofy” that he used for email.

Ron was a very kind individual and I will miss his presence.

-- Kennyb

Thanks to Judy Bennett and Scott Newkirk for much of the information above.

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