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November 9, 1929 ~ January 3, 2023 (age 93) 93 Years Old
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Born on November 9, 1929, in Natchez, MS, Bennie Sewell as the only child of Leonard Sewell and Sinah Jones-Rhone. In his hometown, Bennie grew up attending Zion Chapel AME Church where he began his life-long religious walk. Bennie came from humble beginnings and grew up during the Great Depression. He was a graduate of Brumfield High School – Class of 1948. Of his class of 45 students, he was the last surviving member. After high school, Bennie joined the US Navy where he served during the Korean War. In honor of his military service, he was awarded the Korean Service Medal and in 2-19 took a commemorative trip to Washington, DC with the Honor Flight of the Quad Cities.
In 1958, Bennie married Evelyn (Badgett) Sewell and together moved to Rock Island where they would live for over 60 years. Bennie was active in the Rock Island community as a member of B ethel AME Church for over 50 years having served as an Usher and Trustee. He was also a proud member and Treasurer of the American Legion Post 482 and was active in Local Elections as a poll worker. After retiring from Caterpillar, ending a chapter of 25 years’ dedication, Bennie went on to work as the Assistant Funeral Director for Orr’s Mortuary for another 29 years thereafter. Always quick witted and a hard worker, in his free time Bennie enjoyed cooking and barbecuing for family and friends.
Bennie was a complex man – curious yet routine, wise yet funny, and tough yet simple. Having lived nearly a century of life, he faced and overcame many of life’s challenges. Each decade presented him with an opportunity to reevaluate himself in efforts to move forward with new convictions. Although not a perfect man, Bennie was well loved and through his long life taught us all the blessings of transformation – big and small.
He was predeceased by his parents, Sinah Jones-Rhone and Leonard Sewell and his stepsister, Alma Rose Ellison. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Evelyn, and his three children, Sheryl (James) Johnson of Lucas, TX, Jaqueline Taylor of Rock Island, IL and Anthony Sewel of Rock Island, IL. His memory lives on in his ten grandchildren: Kim, Elena, Myshoska, Tony, Angel, Akili, Greg Jr., Jala, Michael, and Halisi; as well as his 18 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.