Bennett & Bennett Irrigation Systems began in 1928 with Gary Bennett’s grandfather, Lon Bennett, in Selma. Gary’s father, Orville Bennett, branched out to Armona in 1945 and Gary took over both sites in 1968. In 2009, son Tyler Bennett joined the family business as the fourth generation, “He looked at it simply. Treat employees well and treat customers well and if we do those two things, we will be ok.”
Born in Selma and raised in Hanford, Gary graduated from Hanford High School in 1959. In 1964 he married Maxine M. Nichols. “My parents had a great marriage. I don’t remember ever seeing them fight. They were true sweethearts,” explains Tyler. The two celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary on August 15, 2015, one month before Gary’s passing.
When asked about what type of person Gary was, Tyler reflects, “He was honest and ethical. The quality of character meant everything to him. He didn’t care about status. He always delivered on what he sold or promised.” What would Gary have thought about Bennett & Bennett’s merger with GAR Tootelian, Inc.? “He would think this merger was the greatest thing ever,” states Tyler, “He would enjoy the people we work with; he would love them. He would love the Mussons. Dad and Greg would have been friends, no doubt in my mind. They are very similar people.”
In his spare time Gary liked the outdoors. “He loved going to the Sierras and fly fishing for trout. That was our thing,” states Tyler, “He also used to love to fly around the dunes in Pismo on a dune buggy. Most people don’t know he had a little bit of dare devil in him.”
Happy Birthday Gary Bennett!