Dr. H. Blair Bentley
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Dr. H. Blair Bentley, Professor Emeritus of History from Dyersburg State Community College, age 85, died Wednesday, February 6, 2013.
Funeral services will be held at the Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA), 1046 Campbell Street, Jackson, TN Saturday, February 9th at 11 a.m., with the Rev. Grover Gunn III and Rev. Brent Sadler officiating. Military honors will accompany the burial at Highland Memorial Gardens, 3360 N. Highland Avenue, Jackson, TN.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Dr. Louise D. Bentley, Professor Emeritus of English from Union University. Their three children are Vicky, husband, Dr. Steven Smith in Smyrna, TN, and the only granddaughter, Kinsey (husband, Zachary) Hudson of Murfreesboro, TN; Shari, husband, Col. USAF (Retired) Glenn Hanbey, and their three sons, Devon, Lance and Logan, in Auburn, WA; Dr. Randall Bentley, wife, Melody, and their three sons, Preston, Jonathan and Robert in Fairfax, VA.
A native of Beaver Center, PA, Dr. Bentley was graduated from Springboro HS in 1945. He held a B.A. degree in English Bible and a B.D. from Bob Jones University. As an enlisted man in the Ordnance Branch of the U. S. Army shortly after WWII, he caught the vision of what a chaplain could offer to the troops in his command. Following seminary, he became a U. S. Army Chaplain in 1954 and served on active duty in the Arctic, Ft. Knox, KY, and Korea. He finished his 34-year military career in the U. S. Army Reserves in 1987 as one of the few chaplains to attain the rank of Colonel. He was also a graduate of both the Command and General Staff College (Kansas) and the Air War College (AL).
While pastoring a church in Aurora, CO, he completed an M.A. in History at the University of Denver in 1961 and returned to the East to teach at Bryan College as History Department Chair while completing his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1972. Moving to Dyersburg State in 1973, he chaired the Division of Social Sciences for several years before his retirement in 1987. He was very active in his professional organizations and published articles in The East Tennessee Historical Society Publications, The West Tennessee Historical Society Papers, and The Tennessee Historical Quarterly. A charter member of The Conference on Faith and History, he remained active in that group for many years. While living in Dyersburg, he served as an interim pastor at Hurricane Hill, Flippin, and Trimble CP churches before moving to Jackson in 1990. He was an Adjunct Professor at Union University for several years. He and his wife spent seven weeks as volunteers teaching conversational English in the Peoples Republic of China in 1991, five weeks as volunteer missionaries in Japan in 1993, and in Mexico City as a consultant for TEAM missionaries in 1998. A member of the church choir wherever he lived, he was a violinist and longtime lover of music, as well as a patron of the Jackson Symphony. He served as a volunteer Chaplain Associate at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital in the Pastoral Care Department, and continued as a faithful Sunday School teacher for many years before his death.
The Active Pallbearers are Randall B. Bentley, Steven P. Smith, Glenn T. Hanbey, George Johnson, Jimmy Cooper, and Jeff Stockwell. Honorary Pallbearers are Drs. Kevin Chiarot, Nathan Hoeldtke, John Freeman, Eric Muir, Billy Williams, and Roger Shore.
Memorials may be sent to Grace Presbyterian Church, P.O. Box 3193, Jackson, TN 38303.
Calling hours are Friday, February 8th from 5-8 p.m., at George A. Smith and Sons North Chapel, 2812 North Highland Avenue, Jackson, TN and Saturday, February 9th from 10-11 a.m., at Grace Presbyterian Church, 1046 Campbell Street.
George A. Smith and Sons North Chapel, (731) 427-5555.
Published in The Jackson Sun from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9, 2013