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Dr. Max Bentele

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BENTELE Dr. Max Bentele of Fairfield, died on Friday, May 19, 2006 at the age of 97 at the Carolton Convalescent Hospital, Fairfield. Dr. Bentele was a pioneer in engine design and development in three countries, making major contributions to the field of reciprocating, rotary and gas engines. Throughout his long life, he was an ardent champion for raising the status of the engineer in society, for protecting the rights of inventors and for frank assessment of problems inherent in internal combustion engine technology. Dr. Bentele was born in Ulm, Germany, the youngest of six children. He studied mechanical and electrical engineering at Stuttgart Technical University, earning his doctorate of engineering in 1937. After serving as director of Applied Research at Heinkel/Hirth in Stuttgart in 1947, he was asked by the British Ministry of Supply to participate in the design and development of a gas turbine for a main battle tank. In 1952, he was invited back to Heinkel as chief engineer for commercial vehicles, scooters and mopeds. Four years later, he accepted an offer from the Curtiss-Wright Corporation in Wood Ridge, N.J. to join its engineering department. At Curtiss-Wright, he played an key role in the development of a new rotary engine commonly known as the Wankel engine. In 1974, he retired from AVO Lycoming, where he had worked in the independent research and development and the contributing engineering programs. Throughout his professional life, Dr. Bentele served as consultant to individuals and companies seeking advice about novel engine concepts. Applying his experience and expertise to all proposals, he always arrived at an definite conclusion, the concept was workable or it was not. Following his positive recommendations could, as with the Wankel engine, introduce a new era of engine design. Heeding his advice that a design would not work, often saved millions of dollars while ignoring it resulted in useless expenditure of money and manpower. His wife of 59 years, Maria Magdalena Pfister Bentele, died in 1997. He is survived by his three daughters, Rose-Marie Klipstein of Rochester, N.Y., Ursula Tenny and Brigitte Bentele, both of New York City; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, June 24, 2006 at 11 a.m. in the First Presbyterian Church of Fairfield, 2475 Easton Turnpike, Fairfield. In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Fairfield. Calling hours have been omitted. The Larson Funeral Home, 2496 North Avenue, Bridgeport is in charge of arrangements.
Published in Connecticut Post from May 22 to May 23, 2006
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