Benjamin “Ben” Hamlen Gannett, of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts, died Friday, November 27 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 78 years old. Ben is survived by his beloved and devoted wife of 52 years, Adlumia “Lummy” (Sargent); his daughters, Sarah Gannett (Baltimore, MD), Amy Morse and her husband, DJ (Chestnut Hill, MA), and Abigail Levendusky and her husband, Jason (Manchester-by-the-Sea); his son, Benjamin Gannett, Jr., and his wife, Jennifer (Hingham, MA); his ten grandchildren, Jackson, Henry, Will, Annie, Ali, Olivia, Hadley, Natalie, Emily, and Finn, who were his pride and joy; and his golden retriever, Boomer, who was his best friend.
Ben, the son of the late Thomas Brattle Gannett and Representative Ann Cole Gannett, was born and raised on Mainstone Farm, in Wayland, Massachusetts, with four siblings, the late Thomas Brattle Gannett, Jr., Nancy (Robert) Hurlbut, Deborah (David) Brooks, and Peter Gannett. He was known as a fun-loving and spirited young man. After graduating from Milton Academy in 1961, Ben briefly attended Boston University, before joining the United States Marine Corps. There, he learned a discipline and love of country that became central to his character.
Following his Marine Corps service, Ben met Lummy when they worked together at a small bank in Boston. They were married in Washington, DC in 1968 and settled in Littleton, MA before moving to Manchester in 1969. Together they launched their family, his business, and a lifetime of adventure and service to their community.
Ben and his partners, Jack Welsh and Ken Ives, founded their company, the investment counseling firm Gannett, Welsh & Ives in 1974. They grew the firm—which is run today under the name GW&K—from three partners and a secretary to a company managing $36 billion in assets. GW&K partnered in 2008 with the local company Affiliated Managers Group (AMG).
While running a successful business Ben maintained a lifelong commitment to community service, in Manchester-by-the-Sea and beyond. He served as an elected member and as Chairman of the Manchester School Committee for 12 years, ushering the school system through difficult budgetary times and handing out diplomas to scores of graduates, including all four of his own children. He also served on the boards of the Boston Aquarium, the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, the Wang Center, Summer Search, the Singing Beach Club, the Cape Ann Savings Bank, and numerous other organizations.
Ben was an indefatigable sports fan. His first date with his wife was to a Patriots’ game! He listened to or watched virtually every Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins game ever played, and he proudly served as treasurer of the Boston Madison Square Garden Club. He also loved youth sports. He encouraged all his children to play, and he coached numerous teams, including his son’s youth hockey teams. He loved watching his grandchildren play football, baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis and lacrosse.
Ben was a natural athlete himself, playing sports his whole life, and remaining graceful on water and snow skis, and on the tennis court, as an adult. Among Ben’s lesser-known, but proudest, accomplishments were prizes he won as an adult with family and friends after he took up sports fishing, including at the Nantucket and Bahamas (Championship, 2006) billfish tournaments.
Before Alzheimer’s disease took its toll, Ben and Lummy had the good fortune to travel to far-flung places with their friends and their children. Yet there was nothing he loved more than being at home on Smith’s Point, looking out over familiar waters, loved ones at his side and a cocktail (rum dum!) in hand.
Ben will be remembered fondly, and dearly missed, by countless friends and family members for his kind and generous heart and warm smile.
His family will be forever grateful to Care Dimensions, and especially to Seasons of Danvers, for the love and care they gave to Ben as his Alzheimer’s progressed.
A private service will be held on December 3, 2020. Assisting the family with the arrangements is the Peterson-O’Donnell Funeral Home, 167 Maple St., (Rte. 62) Danvers. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ben’s memory to The Benjamin H. Gannett Memorial Scholarship, c/o Cape Ann Savings Bank, 17 Beach Street, Manchester, MA 01944. The scholarship will be awarded annually to a Manchester-Essex High School graduate, in honor of the town and the school Ben loved and served. To share a memory or offer a condolence, please visit www.odonnellfuneralservice.com