More detail on this person: Col. William R. Benoit, USA Ret., 88, of Pleasant Street, died on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, at Concord Hospital-Laconia. Col. Benoit was born on June 2, 1933, in New Bedford, MA, the son to the late Clifton Benoit and Claire Sottak (DesRoche). He is survived by his wife Lorraine (Virgin) Benoit, and his son William R Benoit III. He was a beloved husband and father. He began his military career as a private and was immediately selected for OCS (Officer Candidate School) at Fort Benning Georgia. Upon graduating as a Second Lieutenant he went to Army Flight School in Texas, and then on to helicopter training. His career as an Army Aviator saw him through two tours in Korea, one tour in Viet Nam, he served on the Ft Rucker Flight Test Board, attended the US Naval Test Pilot School (TPS) at Patuxent Naval Air Station, returned to teach at TPS, and later was instrumental in the award winning redesign and patenting of several aircraft safety features which saved thousands of lives in the field. He was a lifetime member of the Society Experimental of Test Pilots. In Viet Nam he flew with the 282nd Black Cats Assault Helicopter Co, the 219th Headhunters Avn Co, and commanded the 183rd Seahorse Recon Co. Attaining Full Colonel at a relatively young age, his later commands included the 67th Maintenance Battalion at Fort Benning GA, The Army Materials and Mechanics Research Center (AMMRC) in Watertown MA, and the Harry Diamond Research Laboratories in Washington DC. Although he served in many different branches of the Army, aviation was always the closest to his heart and his proudest achievements were the day he got his wings, later achieving his Master Aviator rating, and earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. During his Army years, he had earned a bachelors degree from University of Omaha, and a Masters from USC California. Upon retiring from the Army, he took a teaching position at Plymouth State University, and went on to become Chair of the Business Department while earning a Doctorate from NOVA University. After retiring from Plymouth State University, he focused on his lifelong passion for golf. He had been a member at Laconia Country Club since the early 80's and had long, cherished friendships with the members and staff. He was active in the organizing of club business as well as competing in tournaments and playing daily. He loved going to the indoor golf sessions in the winter and traveling to play with friends in warmer climates. Golf gave him the perfect platform to explore the subtleties of physics while enjoying the camaraderie of game play. He missed all his friends at the club dearly when he could no longer play and they will miss him now that he is gone. He is Pre-deceased by his brothers Maj Peter Benoit, Brigadier General Barry Sottak, his sisters Patricia (Benoit) Romprey and Sharon Sottak. He is survived by his sister Gale (Sottak) Howland and husband Dave Howland, and his brother Paul Sottak and wife Julie Sottak, sister in law Anna Benoit (of Kansas), sister in law Elaine (DeRoy) Sottak, sister in law Claudette Saunders, and brother in law James Novak and wife Denise Novak. His family golf group included his brother Paul Sottak and brother in law David Howland, nephews Mark Romprey, Tim Sottak, Craig Howland and nephew in law Walter Berry (deceased). He was thrilled to attend the "BS reunion" (Benoit/Sottak) family reunion a couple years ago and was immensely appreciative of the time and effort his nieces and nephews put into organizing and hosting this event of a lifetime. He is loved and will be missed by all. A Memorial Mass will be held at a later date. A Graveside Service with military honors will also be held at a later date. Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services and 603Cremations.com, 164 Pleasant St., Laconia, NH, 03246, is assisting the family with arrangements. For more information and to view an online memorial, please visit www.wilkinsonbeane.com. Published by Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home from Nov. 22 to Nov. 23, 2021.
This information was last updated 11/28/2021
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Date posted on this site: 05/13/2023
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