obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00

John Charles 

John Charles Bennethum

Friday, February 11, 2022, age 80 years. John was born to Harold and Ella Bennethum at Milwaukee Hospital on Sunday, April 20, 1941, baptized on May 11, 1941 and was raised in West Allis along with his older brother James and younger brother Dale.

He earned four degrees at UW and taught Science and Biology at MPS where he also served as chairman of a 12-member science department. John retired in 1996 after 33 years of dedicated service.

John was a dedicated, life-long member at First Lutheran Church and was extraordinarily generous with his time and talents. When the altar coverings needed to be replaced, John and his mother even designed and made new ones in multiple colors to help save money. He also served as an usher, was a council member and Crossways board member for many years. Along with Pastor Felton, he signed documents founding Crossways Camps.
A man of deep faith, John was both a student and teacher of the Bethel Bible series (a mountain-top experience). He also taught Confirmation and Adult Bible class year-round for over 20 years. He took AIM training (a predecessor to the Diakonia program) and served as a Deacon and Lay Preacher – he also established the First Lutheran Church Deacon program – Schedule the Deacons.

Music was an important part of John’s expression of faith. He sang tenor along side Ralph Bayer until Dennis Wolfgang left. John loved traditional pipe organ music and was a supporter of their music and preservation.

John was a member of many Masonic organizations for over 50 years, including Wisconsin DeMolay Staff, West Allis Masonic Lodge, York and Scottish Rite, Eastern Star and shared his faith as Chaplain for Tripoli Shrine-Masons for 18 years.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Harold and Ella, his older brother James and sister-in-law Carol.  He is survived by his brother Dale (Sally), 4 nephews and 3 nieces and their families.  Also survived by his lady Rosemarie Tapper and the Cain Finger family.

Family and friends will gather at First Lutheran Church, 7400 W. Lapham Street in West Allis on Monday, February 21, 2022 from 10:00 AM until the time of the Memorial Service at 11:00 AM.  As per John’s wishes, his body will be cremated and the ashes scattered to the four winds of heaven.


  1. Patricia FINGER February 15, 2022 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    It has been truly a gift to share in John’s life journey. He embraced my three children. He adored my mom, Rosemarie. He will be missed. Rest in peace friend.

  2. David & Patricia Gutknecht, P.P Tripoli Shrine ‘02 February 16, 2022 at 12:16 am - Reply

    Our heartfelt sympathy to all of John’s family – we cherished his friendship over the years as we became friends at Tripoli Shrine – touched our lives in a very special way as he did with so many. John will be deeply missed but forever in our thoughts and hearts forever – a very special person. – Blessings as we fondly remember and cherish all of the happy times, laughter and fun – he was so special. Blessings

  3. Skip Bruckner February 16, 2022 at 10:15 am - Reply

    John was a kind and loving man. Our sincere sympathy. Skip Bruckner and Arline Hughes

  4. Rev. Gus Barnes February 16, 2022 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    John was truly instrumental in my desire to become an Ordained Minister in the ELCA. In my Seminary summers he allowed me to lead Bible studies , made me an Honorary Deacon of First Lutheran. He will be missed as I hold memories in my heart

    Pastor Gus Barnes

  5. Faith Overdier Pfeiffer February 26, 2022 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    On behalf of the Rev. George and Adeline Overdier family, we send our deep sympathy to John’s family and friends. He was a dear friend and helper of Adeline and Pastor George when they were at First Lutheran. We cherish his memory and know that he is now in the arms of God, a “Good and Faithful Servant!” God bless you all.

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