Late Aurora native William W. Bennett won accolades while serving as a Marine combat engineer during World War II and post-war in his community.
His achievements were chronicled in a book unveiled Sunday, April 14, on the 100th anniversary of his birthday. Bennett died in 2011 at age 92.
“Once Upon A Lifetime: The Epic True Story of Corporal William Wesley Bennett, USMC," by Yorkville author Brent A. Peterson, was released at a reception and book signing at Highpoint Church in North Aurora.
Peterson said he timed the book release to coincide with Bennett’s centennial birthday. Friends and family attending included Bennett children Sarah (Richard) Brauer of Sandwich and Carol (Nolen) Foreman and Kathy (Peter) Andrews both of Aurora, As the event concluded, Sarah stood up in the audience to thank Peterson for his work.
Peterson opened the program by introducing Bill Suhayda of Sugar Grove, who read the forward he wrote to Peterson’s book. Suhayda published "From Tyranny to Liberty" in 2016.
Peterson presented mementos to representatives of the Aurora Historical Society, Aurora Public Library and other friends and family members who helped him produce the book over five years.
Paperback and E-book editions became available on Amazon.com Sunday.
Peterson's book chronicles Bennett's service with Company D, second battalion, in Saipan, Tinian, Tarawa and Solomon Islands.
Bennett was a 60-year member of Fourth Street Methodist Church in Aurora. A 1937 East Aurora High School graduate, he played football with the Aurora Clippers, a semi-professional team. He retired from Stephens-Adamson Co. in Aurora after 35 years of service. A dedicated Methodist layman, he led Bible studies for high school students and young adults.