Obituary for Kay Hickman Bennett (Gatlin)

Kay Hickman Bennett (Gatlin), age 80, wife of the late James Nelson Bennett, a resident of Mary Esther, FL went to be with the Lord on Tuesday, April 28, 2020 in Mary Esther, FL. Kay was born on June 24, 1939 in Ft. Myers, FL to William Lloyd and Minnie Lee Hickman, she grew up in Ft. Myers, FL.

After graduating from Ft. Myers High School in 1957, she played the organ at Riverside Baptist Church, Ft. Myers, FL.  While at Riverside Baptist Church, she met James Nelson Bennett and they later married in 1958.  While married to James Nelson Bennett, Kay followed behind her husband during his naval career to Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, Puerto Rico; Pensacola Naval Air Station, FL; Naval Base San Diego, CA and the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, CA.  During that time, they were blessed with two daughters, Beverly Ann and Sandra Lynn.  After “her” Navy career the family settled at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL.  In 1970, Kay and the family moved to Pulaski, VA.  While in Pulaski, Kay and her family were members of the 1st Baptist Church of Pulaski and later, Memorial Baptist Church of Pulaski where she continued her love of playing the organ in both churches.  In 1982, Kay, James and their daughter Sandra moved to Tampa, FL.  While in Tampa, the family were members of the Temple Terrace Baptist Church, Temple Terrace, FL where Kay also served the choir by playing the organ.  In 2007, Kay and her husband James moved to Mary Esther, FL where James Nelson Bennett passed away on August 29, 2013.  Kay married Charles E. Gatlin on March 29, 2016.

She is survived by her daughters and their spouses:  Beverly Ann (Leon) Gravley of Draper,  VA and Sandra Lynn (Jeff) Pitman of Mary Esther, FL; two grandchildren and their spouses: LeAnna Kay (Peter) Schmalz of Cortez, CO and Aaron Jeffrey (Jessica) Pitman of Baker, FL; one great granddaughter Tatum JoAnn Pitman of Baker, FL;  one sister and her spouse: Grace (Ed) Van Frachin;  Kays 2nd husband Charles E. Gatlin; step daughters Charlene Godwin, Cherry Gatlin and Jennifer Donaghey; and a host of nieces, nephew, cousins, other relatives and friends.  Kay is preceded in death by her 1st husband James Nelson Bennett; William Lloyd and Minnie Lee Hickman.

Services celebrating Kay’s life will be held on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 11:00 AM at Davis-Watkins Funeral Home, 113 Racetrack Road, NE, Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32547 with visitation beginning at 9:00 AM. Due to the conditions in place for the coronovirus response; there will not be Traditional Funeral Service.  All friends and family are welcome during the visitation period.  Visitors will be limited to a maximum of 10 visitors at a time and are asked to remember social distancing while in the funeral home.

Internment will be held at Barrancas National Cemetery (Annex Side), Pensacola Naval Air Station, 1 Cemetery Road, Pensacola, FL  32508.  In Lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) Star Charity Funds. The mission of the Sheriff’s Star Charity is to help Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office law enforcement personnel, sworn and non-sworn during times of crisis and financial need. The Star Charity also engages and provides manpower and financial support to other charities within our community. The address to mail donations is: OCSO, 50 2nd street, Shalimar, FL 32579.

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