Services to Be Held for H.W. Bennett, OD, "Dr. B," Luxury Eyewear Pioneer


Dr. H.W. Bennett.

SOUTHFIELD, Mich.—Word started to circulate last Friday about the passing of an industry visionary, Dr. H.W. Bennett, 91, who passed away here on Sept. 8 after a brief illness. Services are planned for today here for “Dr. B.” as he was fondly known by colleagues, suppliers, executives, sales reps and many friends throughout the U.S. and international eyewear business. Dr. Bennett founded Au Courant opticians, one of the first high-end luxury eyewear retailers and was a pioneer in the fashion sector of the industry.

Luxury Optical Holdings (LOH) acquired Au Courant in 2008. At the time, Au Courant had three stores, in Troy, Mich., Bal Harbour, Fla., and Princeton, N.J. At the time of that sale, Dr. Bennett had targeted (and helped to cultivate) the luxury sector of the optical industry for 39 years.

Since then, Dr. B stayed active, as a consultant and advisor to many, enjoying visits to international and U.S. eyewear shows, always intrigues and interested in the industry.

Dr. Bennett’s nephew, Todd Hirsch, owner of Celebrity Eyeworks, posted on Facebook Friday, “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the passing of my great uncle, Dr. Herman Bennett. I cannot begin to say how much he will be missed, and how truly fortunate my entire family was to have him in it….He loved his wife, his children and adored his grandchildren. Professionally, everyone in the optical industry knew “Dr. B.,” “Dr. Bennett” or “Dr. Herm.” He was truly a rock star, a revolutionary, a maverick.”

Services are planned for 1:00pm today at Ira Kaufman Chapel here, where details will be posted.

Many in the industry recall Dr. B fondly. Vision Monday is preparing a tribute to Dr. B, collecting memories and photos from friends and business colleagues. If you’d like to make a submission to be considered for that, please email at Vision Monday.