Obituaries – 04-19-2017

Charles M. ‘Mel’ Bennett,

Charles M. “Mel” Bennett, 85, Bradenton, died April 8.

He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend to all he met.

He was born Oct. 20, 1931, in Heaters, West Virginia, to the late Alva Robinson and Mamie Gay (Singleton) Bennett.

He was married to Nancy Rae Carter Bennett, who died in 2014.

He served in the U.S. Navy. Following his military service, he worked as an automotive mechanic.

He was a long-time resident of Anna Maria Island.

Memorial donations may be made to Tracey Vita’s School of Dance for Scholarships, 4181 Ninth Ave. W., Bradenton FL 34205. Condolences may be made at

He is survived by son Robert and wife Teri; daughters Lezlie and husband Jeff Nance and Kelly and husband Dale Stephenson; grandchildren Jeremy and wife Shawna, Kymberli, Alison, Abigail and Anabellel; great-grandchildren Carter and Lyla; sister-in-law Deloris “Butch” and husband Jim Carden; brother-in-law Richard and wife Gale Carter; niece Shirley and husband Clint Bradford Daniels and many nieces, nephews and extended family members.


Robert Dale Raisch

Robert Dale Raisch, 90, of Bradenton, formerly Holmes Beach, died.

He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, Nov. 21, 1926, to Alvin L. and Gertrude (Maschmidt).

He met Laverne Daume at S.E. Missouri State College in September 1946 and they married Dec. 21, 1947, in Jennings, Missouri. They celebrated 69 years of marriage in December 2016 at Freedom Village in Bradenton.

He was in the U.S. Navy in World War II, serving in the Pacific. He trained as a radioman and was aboard the U.S.S. Fon du Lac, an attack transport that was on its way to Japan. He would have been in the invasion, but for the dropping of the atomic bomb.

He attended S.E. Missouri State College and the University of Missouri, receiving a bachelor’s degree in forestry in 1950.

The summer before his senior year, he worked as a ranger in the Nez Perce National Forest in Idaho. He lived in an observation fire tower and was responsible for reporting and extinguishing any fires. He once saw lightning strike a tree miles in the distance and he had to go put it out before it spread to other trees.

He worked for the Missouri Conservation Commission as a farm forester.

In 1957, the family moved to Manhattan, Kansas, where he received a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Kansas State University while working as an assistant professor and a forester with both the Kansas State Extension Service and the Kansas Department of Forestry.

He and the family moved in 1962 to Indianapolis, where he went to work as state forester.

In 1968, he went to work for the U. S. Forest Service as director of state and private forestry and the family moved to Springfield, Virginia. This position required him to travel extensively throughout the country.

In 1972, the U. S. Forest Service transferred him to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

In 1980, he went to work as director of the South East Region in Atlanta, a post he held until he retired in 1982.

Upon retirement, he and Forest Service retiree Jim Sabin started “Turf and Tree.”

He fully retired in 1992 and in 2004 moved with Laverne to Anna Maria Island, where they had spent winters.

He enjoyed walking the beach, playing golf and tennis, was active in Kiwanis on the island and Roser Memorial Community Church, where he served as a deacon.

He also loved to draw and paint and published articles in several Gulf Coast Writer’s books.

He moved to Freedom Village in June 2016.

A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, April 21, in the auditorium at Freedom Village, 6410 21st Ave. W., Bradenton.  Memorial donations may be made to TideWell Hospice, 5955 Rand Blvd., Sarasota FL 34238. Condolences may be made online at

He is survived by wife Laverne; children Nancy Acton and husband Dick, Steve and wife Kay, Janie Hulbert and Rebecca Smith and husband Scott; grandchildren Emily Steinbraker and husband George, Holly Acton, Brad Acton, Robert Smith and wife Michelle and Amy Smith; and great-grandchildren Casey and Riley Steinbraker.

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