William Andrew Bennett

December  22nd, 1955 February  14th, 2024
Last location
William Andrew Bennett

Dance with the waves, move with the sea. Let the rhythm of the water set your soul free." -Christy Ann Martine


William (Bill) Bennett, aged 68, formerly of Scituate, MA, passed away on February 14, 2024 after a long battle with cancer. His life will be remembered by his family, friends, and many colleagues working in the San Francisco Bay Estuary and beyond. Throughout his career, Bill worked tirelessly for the fishes in the Estuary and helped to advance the science of the Entrapment Zone and its impacts on fish population dynamics. Along with for his significant contributions and expertise, he was known for his hard work, dedication, and passion for good science. 

Bill had four main loves of his life: his family, fish, rock 'n' roll, and wood. He was an avid Red Sox fan, NPR listener, and outdoorsman who enjoyed fishing, hunting, boating, and bird watching. A man of many talents, he was an accomplished ecologist, carpenter, and music aficionado (he played the guitar and had an amazing singing voice). 

Bill was a loving father to his children Brian Bennett and Lucy Bennett; brother to Robert Bennett, Susan Bennett, and Linda Cook; uncle to Adam Cook, Holly Cook, Seamus Sweeney, and Rose Bennett; nephew of Elliot Richard of San Jose, CA; and cousin to many in California, as well as to Edward Richard of Hingham, MA, and William Fisher of Weymouth, MA. He was also a life-long friend of Jim Klix of Scituate, MA, and best friend of Vince Orsini of Bodega Bay, CA.

He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

We would like to welcome you to contribute to his memorial below, sharing photos and stories of Bill, as well as to come join us in celebrating his life at the Bodega Marine Lab (where he worked for many years) on June 2nd.

In addition, in honor of Bill (and in lieu of flowers) we invite you to contribute to causes that were near and dear to his heart. Together, let us continue the legacy of compassion and kindness that Bill embodied throughout his life. If you can donate in his memory, please consider:

• Donating toward a memorial bench for Bill at Spud Point Marina via Sonoma County Parks Association. Please send a check to his sister, Susan Bennett 113 El Dorado Drive, Woodland, CA 95695, OR you can Venmo @SueBee143 (confirmation phone # ending in 4995).
• Donating to the Bodega Marine Lab's research library where Bill enjoyed spending many hours researching: https://give.ucdavis.edu/BOML/LBRY15G


The young years
Bill was raised in Scituate, where he spent his early years trapping muskrats in the marsh. He would check his trap line every morning before school and sell the pelts to make money. He referred to it as his paper route. He also worked in his dad’s machine shop in the old WWII shipyard in Hingham. Here he developed his incredible work ethic and was taught life’s lessons by some great men including his namesake, uncle Bill and little Joe but it was Nick that taught him to bird watch. Bill was voracious and quickly memorized all the birds. Along with trapping, his dad taught him the art of fly fishing, hunting, boating, and lobstering. He would spend days in marshes and riding his bike to the Glades along the ocean, watching birds, fishing for blue fish and stripers too, of course!
High School Years
Bill graduated, Scituate High School Class of 1973 and started college at UMass Amherst, These years were when he developed his love for Rock-n-Roll. Especially The Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones and Paul Simon. He learned guitar and hung around with his good friends "The Marshalls" Barry, Kevin and Ellie who had a band and still perform to this day. Bill would play guitar and loved to sing! This is also when he learned carpentry and his love of good design and especially wood. Bill built himself a workshop to build stuff and to store his wood. He never met a piece of wood that wasn't useful for something.  These years were spent listening to Rock-n-Roll and fishing for blue fish and stripers too, of course!
Grad School 1
When Bill was in grad school, he built himself a loft on the top floor of the machine shop and would take his boat Lucy across Boston Harbor to attend UMass/Boston. He did carpentry on the side and frequented many rock-n-roll bars like the Rat in Boston. He developed his love for science and loved the Natural History Museum at Harvard where he worked for Dr. Richard Levins modeling populations thinking about Dialectics and Loop Models. Bill's first paper was a brilliant analysis about scale and competition in birds and was published in the prestigious journal American Naturalist! These years were spent listening to rock-n-roll, hanging out with Laura and fishing for blue fish and stripers too, of course!
Grad School 2
Bill developed his love for teaching and could explain complex science topics to anyone. He would put on his "teacher" voice and away he went. He was a great speaker and loved to talk about his research, including rock-n-roll in his science talks and paper titles and why the work was so important. These years were spent listening to rock-n-roll, hanging out with Laura, moving to Davis, CA and now fishing for salmon and halibut too, of course!
Tribute to Bill on the California Water Blog
If you missed the memorial, please check out this beautiful tribute to Bill written by Dr. Peter Moyle on the California Water Blog.


Memories and Condolences

Share Condolences, Tributes and Memories.

June 9, 2024
Bill and Laura were 2 of my 1st and best friends when I moved to Bodega Bay as a graduate student. Bill and I got along so well and could always make each other laugh. We went fishing together once on the outer house and I caught a really nice Ling cod and he caught a submerged boot.

The bodega crowd went to Genry and Nancy's wedding and somewhere along the line, Bill picked me up, and threw me on the Petaluma River. I may have instigated it by smearing cake on his face. But ever the gentleman, he jumped in tge river too and payed to clean my fancy dress.

We went to a lot of music together, Stones, little Charlie, Nick Gravenitis, Aaron Nevil, lots more. We went to Baseball games and just we're great fiends for so many years.

I miss your smiling face Bill. Rest well

I miss his smiling face
Sherry Lynn Tamone
June 9, 2024
This is the fish birthday card Lucy made for Bill. She said it's a simple drawing, he on the other hand thought it was a masterpiece. He treasured this card and brought it with him everywhere in the front pocket of his black work case. He would make a point of bringing it out and showing everyone. They wanted to talk about tests, drugs, and procedures and all he wanted to do was to show them his card (and brag about Lucy too, of course). I had to drive 20 minutes each way to fetch it for him (he said he needed his work papers). I rush his black case to him with all his papers and he pulls out the card to show the doctor. He even insisted that we make a special trip to Michael's to find a frame for it. It gave him such joy!
Susan Bennett
May 31, 2024
I was Bill's collaborator on two major projects about a decade ago. What I treasure most about Bill was how he made every meeting and discussion more interesting and alive. In my view, his keen intellect wove together brilliantly with his life stories and love of the outdoors. He made so many days more exciting and memorable--maybe except for the multivariate stats. Perhaps he is trying to explain them to souls in the beyond while regaling them with fishing stories?
Susan Anderson
May 20, 2024
Bill and his PhD Student, Jim Hobbs, provided my first experience as a professional researcher at the Bodega Marine Laboratory, and this experience inspired me to pursue a MS, PhD, and attain my current position as director of the Otolith/Fish Lab at UC Davis. It dramatically transformed the direction of my life and career. I will forever be grateful for the opportunities Bill provided, and will fondly remember the sparkle in his eyes, the smirk in his smile, and his encouraging words: "That's a slam dunk!"; "We're in there!"; "That's a paper!"
Levi Lewis
May 13, 2024
I met Bill back in 1986 when Laura came to work in my lab at BML. While getting to know him in the 1980s-1990s, it was not until 2000 that we actually collaborated on the EPA PEEIR Center. This 5 year large center project had us working closely on fish in SF and Tomales Bays. It was great being part of a team with Bill and I treasure those years.

Although we both loved fishing, it was only in later years that we fished together, with some trips in Bodega Bay on Jaws and Miss Anita, but also several long range trips out of San Diego (see photos), where we were room mates. I recall on one trip coming back from Guadalupe Island where Bill and I spent hours discussing our kids and how great it was as dads to see them carve out their own careers and interests. I know Bill was so proud of Lucy and Brian and he enjoyed talking about each of them for much of our boat trip back to Ensenada.

I will miss Bill so much, but I have many great memories. Tight lines Bill!!
Gary Cherr
May 8, 2024
Bill is probably laughing pretty hard knowing that I finally learned how to catch a fish. Catching the Silver salmon was easy compared to all the bushes, trees, rocks and logs I snag fly fishing. I was sorry to hear of his passing and equally sorry not to get to visit with him one more time. I will always remember Bill talking about fish, watching birds and playing guitar.
Jeff Crofton


What was William's favorite Book?
 John Sutter: A Life on the North American Frontier, biography by Albert Hurtado, Ph.D    https://shop.suttersfort.org/collections/books/products/john-sutter-a-life-on-the-north-american-frontier    
What was William's favorite Music / Song?
The Krush and Rockabilly Roadhouse Show with Big Dave on every Saturday Morning:
What was the most current Book Bill was Reading?.
Sources of the River: Tracking David Thompson across Western North America by Jack Nisbet
What was William's favorite TV show?
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
What was William's favorite Sports Team?
The Boston Red Sox


Celebration of Life at Bodega Marine Lab.
Lunch will be provided.
Please RSVP by 5/20/2024 to Susan Bennett- ratattacka@gmail.com so we can put your name on the list for entry gate.
2099 Westshore Rd.
Bodega Bay, CA 94923-0247                                                   
Sunday June 2, 2024 12-3pm

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