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Harry B. ‘Bill’ Bennett, executive, ice skater

Harry B. “Bill” Bennett, 96, a former marketing and advertising executive for a division of McGraw-Hill’s Continuing Education Center who was also a competitive figure skater, died Sept. 27 after a fall.

He died at his daughter’s home in Laguna Beach, Calif., where he had lived for the past two years, said a granddaughter, Claudine Ruiz.

Mr. Bennett came to the Washington area during World War II and served in Army Air Forces intelligence units from 1944 until his discharge in 1946. He served in the Air Force Reserve until 1955, retiring as a captain.

In 1947, Mr. Bennett began working for McGraw-Hill’s NRI Schools, which produced materials for distance-learning programs. He retired as vice president of advertising in 1991.

Harry Bates Bennett was born in New York. In his youth, he was an usher at the New York’s Paramount Theater, where he helped manage crowds that came to see performances by Frank Sinatra and other stars.

He received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from George Washington University in 1955.

Mr. Bennett was an outstanding figure skater who won medals in regional competitions and competed against future Olympic champions as a young man.

He later became a member of the Washington Figure Skating Club and participated in ice-dancing competitions with his wife. He continued skating at the rink in the National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden into his 70s.

He was a longtime Potomac resident.

His wife of 48 years, Carmel Sommerville Bennett, died in 1994.

Survivors include three children, Carmel Ruiz Bennett of Laguna Beach, Michael Bennett of San Francisco and Timothy Bennett of Silver Spring; two granddaughters; and four great-grandchildren.

— Matt Schudel

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