Charles Oren Bennett
1928 - 1999
among the stars you loved"
harles "Chuck" Oren Bennett was born January 21, 1928,
in Emporia, Kansas. After working a series of jobs in his young
life, he went to work at Boeing, a major aircraft manufacturer,
first as a guard, then as design illustrator. While working at
Boeing he produced detailed drawings of the B-52, the company's
four jet engine bomber. Chuck then moved his wife, Miriam and
two stepchildren to Denver, Colorado, where he went to work at
the aerospace firm of Martin-Marietta. There Chuck produced some
of his most notable illustrations, including the Titan rocket,
the Space Shuttle, the Mars Viking Lander, and Skylab.
Known for his sense of humor and whimsy, Chuck
discretely placed a mouse in most of his illustrations. The mouse
became his trademark, even showing up in one of his Skylab paintings.
This got him the attention of the media, and even the famous space
reporter, Walter Cronkite. When asked why Chuck put mice in his
paintings, he replied, "Oh, for the hell of it."
Chuck's remarkable artistic abilities came to him
naturally. He had no formal art training. His illustrations were
precise and technically accurate, and met the exacting requirements
of his high-tech employers. He was a conceptual artist working
with the imagination of the engineers and then painting what he
believed would be an accurate illustration of his own creative
imagination. He once told a friend that he lived in Atlantis in
another life, and was a mountain man and trapper in yet another.
It was his only explanation for the realism portrayed in his paintings.
Chuck won numerous and prestigious awards for his artwork. Some
of his pieces for Martin-Marietta are displayed at the Smithsonian
in Washington, DC.
When not painting for Martin Marietta, Chuck painted
from home in his art studio. His love for the outdoors and wildlife
were the main focus of his artwork, which has been displayed in
galleries throughout Colorado and the United States.
Chuck was well loved and respected by many people.
His love for life and his sense of humor will be greatly missed
by all who knew him. He told people that he would love to take
a spaceflight, although he was content with his artwork and the
contributions he made. This spaceflight is a way of honoring his
desire to take a trip into space.
Chuck, this is for you.
Miriam, Mike, Pat, Bill, Mike, Dayna, Joe, Kodee, Michelle, Missy,
Killian, Sonny, Poco and Mason.
A man like him
Is probable out of another time
And certainly out of place.
But in the morning mist
You could still recognize his face
And still hear the pounding
Of his noble heart.
-- son Michael S. Doane