Bennett, Roberts

BENNETT, Roberts


1947 - 2022

Rob Bennett died peacefully at his home in Atlanta's Ansley Park neighborhood, on Wednesday, October 12, 2022. He was 75.

Rob was quiet, kind, loving, reassuring, and compassionate. He always listened far more than he spoke and strove to put others at ease. He was a man of integrity and principle. Rob displayed an extraordinary mix of courage, fortitude, positivity, and good humor. His witticisms, delivered in dust-dry fashion and never, ever in a hurry, added laughter and wisdom, whatever the occasion.

Roberts Osborne Bennett was born in 1947 in Jacksonville, Florida, to William Wells Bennett and Nancy Osborne Bennett. The youngest of their three sons, the upstart nicknamed "Robbie" quickly showed himself to be gifted academically and dedicated to his community. In his teens, the first of what would wind up being several serious medical diagnoses made his academic, volunteer, and other activities complicated. But he pursued them with tremendous energy and dedication all the same. Rob went on to college at Harvard, where he made lifelong friends, and a burgeoning interest in politics and public service came fully into bloom.

That interest – together with a love of history and hearing other people's stories – made him a natural for journalism school, to which he was accepted. At the very last minute, though, he instead opted for law school at Duke. The practice of law proved not to his liking but deepened his involvement in politics and community service, including as a volunteer for President Carter's campaigns, as counsel to Atlanta non-profits and charities, and as an attorney for the Georgia State House's Judiciary Committee. Two long-shot campaigns for Georgia House seats were unsuccessful, but not because he wasn't tailor-made for elected office. At the time, the districts were still too red for election of a Carter Democrat like him. Friends and family were profoundly proud of Rob's efforts to advance the issues he cared about. Later in life, he would switch careers while continuing in public service, becoming a middle and high school teacher of social studies, history and other subjects in Dekalb County schools.

Making Atlanta home brought Rob to the happiest and luckiest moment of all. There he met Orinda Dale Evans, who friends and family call "Orrie." They married in 1975, four years before her appointment as a federal judge. Orrie was Rob's best friend, confidante, and the love of his life. They settled in Ansley Park, and raised their son, Wells, and daughter, Elizabeth, both of whom were sources of inestimable joy and pride.

Rob remained steadfastly devoted to his family and community. He was deeply proud of Orrie's service on the bench. And when he wasn't coaching his kids' teams, he was rooting for his son and daughter during innumerable sports practices, musical performances and other events. His grandchildren gladdened him endlessly, and he loved visiting them in Washington, D.C.

He is survived by Orrie, as well as Orrie's sister, Ginna, and Orrie's brother, Charles; their daughter Elizabeth Bennett Albrecht and her husband Peter Boyle Albrecht; their son Wells Cooper Bennett and his wife, Debra Rose Coletti; and two cherished grandchildren, Katerina Rose Bennett and Reid Roberts Bennett.

The family does not plan to hold a funeral service. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family suggests that a donation in Rob's memory be made to organizations supporting research into the treatment of liver and gastrointestinal disease.