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James Luther "Jim" Bentley

1937 - 2019
James Luther "Jim" Bentley Obituary
James Bentley

James "Jim" Luther Bentley, 82, died July 1, 2019, following surgical complications at Southeast Georgia Health System.

Jim was born on Jan. 24, 1937, in Panama City, Fla., the son of Thomas Pierce Bentley and Sarah Pope Woodruff Bentley. He served in the U.S. Marine Reserves for six years, followed by two years at the U.S. Army Special Warfare Center at Ft. Bragg, N.C. Jim's PSY OPS leaflets were dropped over the island of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Jim studied engineering and journalism at North Carolina State University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Georgia State University. He began his journalism career as a summer intern (1958) with the Atlanta Constitution, transitioning to obituary writer, reporter, Assistant City Editor, Night City Editor and City Editor (1971-1979). He served as a correspondent for Reuters Ltd. (1967-1979).

Following a year as Director of Information for the Tennessee Valley Authority, Jim became Managing Editor for Cox News Service (1979-1998) in Washington, D.C., where he oversaw writing and production for 19 newspapers, developed a wire service, and deployed reporters across the world.

Jim's greatest satisfaction came from training and encouraging young journalists, many of whom later received Pulitzer prizes for their investigative work and some of whom went on to executive positions with national media networks.

In 2018, Jim received the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. He was previously honored in several editions of Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, and in the 28th through 35th editions of Who's Who in the East.

After retirement, Jim and his wife, the late Patricia Daniel Bentley, moved to Jekyll Island, Ga., where he served as a Director for Friends of Historic Jekyll Island and the Coastal Georgia Historical Society, as well as President of Hofwyl Plantation Historical Site. He was a Past President and Paul Harris Fellow of the Jekyll Rotary Club. He was also President of the Jekyll Men's Golf Association, volunteered with the Jekyll Arts Association, and initiated Jekyll's first community newspaper.

Jim will be remembered for his great love of people, his insight and creativity, his zest for life, encouragement of others, quirky humor, courage in adversity, and amazing equanimity in a crisis. And of course, for the stories he told.

Jim is survived by his wife, the Rev. Laurie Williams Bentley; brother, Phillip Bentley (Barbara) of Oxford, Ga.; sister, Sally Bentley Hinkle of Panama City, Fla.; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life service will be held at 1 p.m., Sunday, July 28, 2019, at St. Simons Island Presbyterian Church, St. Simons Island, Ga. Refreshments and time for story sharing will follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made by check to the University of Georgia Foundation (please specify "The Conrad Fink Scholars Fund") and mailed to Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, ATTN: Kathryn Reeves, 120 Hooper St., Athens, GA 30602. Online donations may be made at https://t.uga.edu/55Z.

Family-placed obituary

The Brunswick News, July 19, 2019


Published in The Brunswick News on July 20, 2019
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