Bennett Raddin Black
Former Groton Fire Chief, police officer, and town official Bennett Raddin Black, 92, passed away on March 22, 2015 at his home in Groton, Massachusetts. He was born on October 26, 1922 in Everett, Massachusetts.
Bennett, “Ben,” graduated from Lawrence Academy in 1941 and from the University of New Hampshire at Durham in 1947. After graduation, he went to work for Hardware Mutual in Boston where he met and married Mildred Elizabeth Morris in November 1949 and with whom he shared and enjoyed 64 years of marriage, travel, and family life.
Soon after his marriage to Mildred, they moved to Groton and he began his career as a dairy farmer. A solid work ethic having been instilled in him by his parents and grandparents, he soon expanded his operation to include the business of trucking, excavating, and a local school bus route.
Pride and respect for his community saw him join the Groton Police Department in 1949 and serve until 1980. He was also a member or the Groton Volunteer Fire Department and served as Deputy Chief from 1965 to 1974. In 1975, he was appointed Groton’s first full time Fire Chief and fulfilled his duty faithfully until his retirement in 1985.
Never being one to sit idly by, he was a Director on the Board of Groton Water Commissioners from 1965 to 1980 as well as Sealer of Weights and Measures from 1980 to 2002. In 1999 at the age of 73, he was appointed Interim Fire Chief until 2000. His collective time in service to the Town of Groton exceeds 116 years.
But it was his service to his country of which he was most proud. In 1942, he left college to join the U.S. Army Air Corps. He entered flight training and became a bombardier on a B-24 Liberator and served in the Pacific Theatre. He was attached to the 370th Bomb Group of the 13th Air Force, known as the Long Rangers. He flew 39 missions over hostile territory, many of them exceeding 12 hours duration. He is credited with disabling the largest Japanese battleship ever built, the Musashi, by dropping three 1000 pound bombs on its stern, mid, and foredeck during the Battle of the Leyte Gulf in October of 1944. He continued to show his pride as a veteran in later years by gathering fellow veterans and riding in his beloved Army Jeep in the Groton Memorial Day Parade.
Bennett is survived by his sons Donald and his wife Alicia; Robert and his wife Cindy; Bennett Jr. and his wife Susan; and daughter Lucy and her husband David Alexander, all of Groton; grandchildren Katherine Bach, Peter Black, Megan Black, Stephen Black, Ashley Black, Shelby Morris, Nicole Lauria, Callie Black, Kelly Alexander, and Benjamin Alexander; his great-grandchildren Chloe Bach, William Morris, and Hailey Petka.
Extended members of Bennett’s family also include the three angels that upheld his quality of life to a high standard during the last several years. Holly, Meghan, and Sandra, you will always be considered members of our family.
Bennett was preceded in death by his wife, Mildred E. Morris, and his parents, Herman A. and Lucy B. Raddin of Melrose and Groton.
A Celebration of Life Reception will be held in the McNeil Lounge, Fred Gray Building at Lawrence Academy on Powder House Road, April 4, 2015, from 2 — 6 p.m. All who knew Ben are cordially invited to attend.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you might consider honoring Ben’s memory with a donation to: The Fort Devens Museum, 94 Jackson Rd., Suite 305, Devens, MA 01434. Condolences may be left on The Badger Funeral Home online guest book page at Badgerfuneral.com.