Edwin Bennett (Ben) Rector passed away on September 10, 2023, at the age of 87. He was a resident of Mount Juliet, Tennessee for the past 55 years and was a devoted husband, a loving father and a faithful friend.
Ben was born in Martin City, Missouri, to the late Lester Bennett and Kathryn Pedigo Rector and was blessed with two siblings, older brother, Vernon Paul and a beloved sister, Kathleen Marie.
After high school, he attended the University of Missouri in Columbia on a Naval ROTC Scholarship, earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Geology. Upon graduation, he accepted a commission in the United States Marine Corps. During training in Quantico, Virginia, he met the love of his life, a Tennessee girl, Clara Blevins. They wed in 1960, and shortly thereafter started their family with first son, Edwin B. Rector II.
After training, they were assigned to the Marine Corps Air Station at Kaneohe Bay in Honolulu, Hawaii. Here they welcomed daughter Deborah. Ben was in the 3rd Marine Division, Shore Party Battalion and served in the USMC for a total of seven years during the Vietnam War. While Ben was deployed, third child, Leilani, was born.
After his tours in Vietnam, the Rectors settled in Tennessee. Ben advanced to Deputy Chief of the Vanderbilt University Police Department until he retired in 2000, where his strength, compassion and humor made him respected and beloved by his VUPD family.
Ben was active in many local civic clubs including the Kiwanis Club, Exchange Club, and he was 50+ year member of the Mt. Juliet Lodge #642 F&AM, serving as Chaplain Emeritus and Past Master. He was also a member of Harvey Freeman Chapter #181 OES.
He was a 40+ year member of Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church where he was active in teaching, administration and leadership. He also enjoyed singing in the choir while his wife played piano and organ.
The Rectors were dedicated child advocates and fostered many children over the years, officially adopting Robert Blevins and Samuel Rector. He also remained proudly active in Veteran’s Groups including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, The Marine Corps League, and the Young Marines.
Ben was a blessing to all who knew him. He loved God and showed it in all that he did.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Clara Blevins Rector, his brother Vernon Rector, and his niece Lou Ann Rector.
He is survived by:
Children – Edwin B. (Diane) Rector, II, Deborah L. (Steve) Phelps, Leilani Rector, Robert Blevins, Samuel Rector
Sister – Kathleen Marie Smith
Several grandchildren and many loving nieces and nephews
Funeral Services will be conducted at 11 am Thursday, September 14, 2023 at Bond Memorial Chapel. Internment with military honors will follow at 1 pm at Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery. Visitation will be 4-8 pm on Wednesday, September 13, 2023 and will end with a Masonic Service.
Arrangements by Bond Memorial Chapel, N. Mt. Juliet Road and Weston Drive, Mt. Juliet, TN. (615) 773-2663. www.bondmemorial.com
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