Wallace F. Bennett
Wallace F. Bennett was a well-known politician and businessman. He served as a United States Senator from Utah from 1951 to 1974. While in office, he focused on water and land issues. He sat on the Finance and Banking committees—eventually as the ranking member—and the Senate Select Committee on Atomic Energy, and he was the vice chair of the Senate Ethics Committee. He declined to seek re-election in 1974, and resigned on December 20 to allow the elected successor, Jake Garn to take office early and gain seniority. Bennett's son, Bob Bennett, later held the seat from 1993 to 2011.
Bennett was born on November 13, 1898, in Salt Lake City, He graduated from LDS High School in 1916 and then attended the University of Utah, majoring in English. He won a varsity letter in debate. His education was interrupted by World War I, and he served in the U.S. Army, commissioned as a second lieutenant of the Infantry, and was assigned as an instructor in the Student Army Training Corps at Colorado College. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1919 and served for a year as principal of San Luis Stake Academy in Manassa, Colorado.
When he returned to Utah in 1920, he became an office clerk at Bennett’s Paint and Glass, a company started by his father, and worked in several capacities. After his father’s death in 1938, he became president and general manager. In 1950 he became chairman of the board.
He also organized a Ford dealership known as the Bennett Motor Company and served as president from 1939 to 1950. He also served as president of the Cardon Jewelry Company and of the National Glass Distributors Association; vice-president of Glayton Investment Company and of the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association; and director of Zion's Savings Bank and Trust Company, the Utah Oil Refining Company, and the Utah Home Fire Insurance Company. He served one year (1949) as president of the National Association of Manufacturers.
From 1932 to 1933, he hosted a daily one-hour KSL program called “The Observatory Hour.” He was president of the Salt Lake Civic Opera Company (1938–1941) and the Salt Lake Community Chest (1944–1945). In 1935, he became treasurer of the Sunday School General Board. He also directed a chorus of LDS Hospital student nurses from 1942 to 1948. He also wrote the lyrics to “God of Power, God of Right” (#20), which was included in the 1985 Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He married Frances Marion Grant, the youngest daughter of Church president Heber J. Grant, in 1922 and they were the parents of five children. He died on December 19, 1993, in Salt Lake City. The Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building in Salt Lake City was named in his honor.