Hubert Douglas Bennett

Richmond, Virginia, June 1, 2009.

Hubert Douglas Bennett, 102, of Richmond, formerly of Chatham, Virginia, went to be with our Lord May 30, 2009.

He was predeceased in death by his wife of 54 years, the former Georgene Cameron Phillips of Gloucester, Virginia.

Judge Bennett was the first person named and appointed to the position of Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia when the position was created by the legislature of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1952.

He was born in Renan in Pittsylvania County on Nov. 18, 1906, the only child of the late Dr. Coleman Douglas Bennett and Sallie Epperson Hogan Bennett.

A graduate of Chatham Training School (now Hargrave Military Academy, 1924), Judge Bennett held the degrees of B. S. ('33) and L.L.B. ('38) from the University of Virginia.

In November 1933, after teaching in the public schools of Pittsylvania County for three sessions, Mr. Bennett was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates and represented Pittsylvania County during the 1934-35 session of the Virginia legislature.

While there, he actively supported the creation of a trial justice system, which eliminated the justices of the peace as trial judges, and favored the establishment of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.

Upon admission to the Virginia State Bar in 1937, Mr. Bennett opened an office for the practice of law in Chatham.

Shortly thereafter, in 1938, he was appointed County Judge of Pittsylvania County, and continued in this position until May 1942 when he was commissioned a lieutenant (j.g.) in the U. S. Naval Reserve.

Judge Bennett served honorably in the Navy during World War II and in January 1946 he was retired from Naval duty with the rank of lieutenant commander and returned to his position as County Judge of Pittsylvania County, Virginia.

In 1952 Judge Bennett was appointed Executive Secretary of the Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals (now the Supreme Court of Virginia).

Working with Chief Justice Edward W. Hudgins, he helped initiate the movement in Virginia for improvement of the administration of justice and saw much of this program enacted into law.

While Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia, Judge Bennett served as Secretary of the (National) Judicial Conference and Secretary of the (National) Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission.

Judge Bennett was one of the founders of the National Conference of Court Administrators and was chairman of the conference in 1958-59.

While a resident of Chatham, Judge Bennett served at various times as president of the Alumni Association of Hargrave Military Academy, commander of American Legion Post 132, president of the Pittsylvania County Bar Association, president of the Association of County and Municipal Judges of Virginia, attorney for the Town of Chatham and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank of Chatham.

Throughout his residence in Chatham, Judge Bennett served as chairman of the Board of Stewards of Watson Memorial United Methodist Church in 1948 and in 1962; and, after relocating to Richmond, a trustee of the Centenary United Methodist Church in Richmond.

Judge Bennett traveled after his retirement in 1976, having completed nearly 24 years with the Supreme Court of Virginia.

A graveside service was conducted Monday, June 1, 2009, at11 a.m., Highland Burial Park in Danville, Virginia.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to your favorite charity or Watson Memorial United Methodist Church, 136 North Main Street, Chatham, Virginia 24531.

Scott Funeral Home in Chatham is respectfully serving the Bennett family.

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