Bill Bentley was born on April 14, 1936 in Bell (Los Angeles), California to William “Will” Arthur Bentley and to Marie Mourak Bentley. He died on Good Friday, April 2, 2021, in the comfort of his home on Governor’s Island in Gilford, New Hampshire beside his loving wife Karen Bentley. Bill was a much beloved son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, business mentor and friend to many. He will be sorely missed by all.
Bill had a lifelong enthusiastic love for all things fast and loud: cars, boats, motorcycles and later in life, RC planes. This interest began as a teenaged hobby when Bill built a speed boat and worked on car engines in his family’s garage. He had an innate engineering mind and was always curious about how things worked. As a young man, one of Bill’s most prized possessions was a 1959 red and white Corvette.
Bill was also fervent about the Boy Scouts, an interest he shared with his Dad, who was a scoutmaster, and with his younger brother Bob. Bill achieved many scouting accomplishments including becoming an Eagle Scout and earning The Harvey Firestone Award as the most outstanding scout in the region. He appreciated self-reliance and tested himself by hiking and camping extensively on the John Muir Trail and throughout the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Bill’s other great lifelong passion was cooking. He was so good; Bill could have easily distinguished himself as a professional chef if he wanted to. Bill’s specialties were soups, gumbo, anything Mexican, homemade hash and grilled foods. Bill claimed he could cook anything, and he really could. Most importantly, Bill was always happy to share his cuisine with friends and family, and everyone always appreciated having it.
Bill graduated from South Gate High School in 1954 and attended college South Los Angeles Community College. He enlisted in the National Guard in 1959, earned sharpshooter and expert badges, and was honorably discharged in 1965. Bill’s first significant job was with IBM, where he was quickly recognized for his natural management abilities. Bill rose through the ranks and was selected by IBM to participate in Harvard’s PMD program, the equivalent of a master’s degree for high potential executives. As a PMD 76 graduate, Bill often talked about how this experience influenced him to think more creatively about his range of choices. It was at IBM that Bill met the love of his life, the former Karen Peplau, who he was married to for 45 years.
In 1979 Bill was recruited into Data General Corporation, one of the first minicomputer hardware companies in the Boston area. He served as Vice President of National Service and helped to grow the company to a $1.1 billion business. At the time this was an explosive level of growth and exceptional level of revenue. In 1989 Bill left Data General and founded The Bentley Company, a consulting organization that specialized in designing and installing help desks for technology companies such as Microsoft and others. The Bentley Company was sold to Technology Solutions Company in 2000.
In 2001 Bill and his wife, Karen, moved to the Lakes Region in New Hampshire where they lived for the rest of Bill’s life. Bill’s retirement was filled with day trading, world travel, exotic fishing trips and frequent visits to a second residence in St. Thomas. His favorite fishing story was when he caught 16 sail fish in one day on a fishing excursion to Panama. His favorite world trip was a 40-day cruise that started in Cape Town, South Africa; went up the east coast of Africa, through India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia and ended in Singapore.
Bill’s proudest accomplishment and most lasting legacy is his family. He was devoted to showering love, support, and inspiration to all in the grandest possible way. Bill is survived by his wife, Karen, by his favorite daughter Kathleen Bentley Lane and by his favorite son William Bentley Jr., and their families. Kathleen is married to Michael Lane, and Bill has three grandchildren through them: Matthew Tyler Adam, Sophie Bentley Lane, and Molly Bentley Lane. Bill Jr is married to the former Juliet Lodi, and Bill has another two grandchildren through them: William Bentley III and Ava Louise Bentley, plus a third granddaughter is expected in June. Additionally, Bill is survived by three younger siblings: Robert Bentley of Madrid, Spain; Ted Bentley of Walnut Creek, CA; Bonnie Bentley Longwill of San Patricio, NM, and by his first wife Carol Carr Berlin. Bill is predeceased by his parents, Will and Marie Bentley, and by his younger brother, Allen Bentley.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be held on Sunday, June 27th, in the Lakes Region. Venue is still being decided. Friends, family, business associates and neighbors are all invited to attend and to share their favorite Bill story or memory. In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to the Bill Bentley Memorial GOFUNDME page. In Bill’s honor, contributions will be used to fund a scholarship for a financially disadvantaged, high potential Gilford High School graduate who wants to pursue a business degree.
To leave an online condolence please visit www.mayhewfunerlfunerals.com