Roger Carl Bentley was born on January, 11, 1931 at home, Newton Township, rural New York Mills, Minnesota. His parents were the late Norman and Tegla (Tapio) Bentley. On February 19, 1977, Roger was married to Georgia (Wendt) Kahilainen at Trinity Lutheran Church in New York Mills. They enjoyed traveling much of the country together. Family was the center of their world.
On April 20, 1953, Roger enlisted in the United States Army. He attained the rank of PFC before his discharge on March 31, 1955. After his discharge, Roger sailed the Great Lakes for over 30 years where he worked on the iron ore boats and retired in 1987. He enjoyed working the next 5 years as a custodian and maintenance man at the Elders Home in New York Mills.
No dust would settle under Roger’s feet. He was active with many organizations including Meals on Wheels until August of this year. It was Roger’s privilege to attend funerals to go through the military ceremony with the Honor and Color Guard from the Charles D. Center V.F.W. Post #3289 of which he was a very active member. He was presented a Quilt of Valor at the 2019 Veteran’s Day Program and humbled when he received his High School Diploma from New York Mills.
Roger’s greatest love was the time he spent at Finn Creek Open Air Museum. It was his slice of heaven on earth. That love started as a young boy, when he would stay with his grandparents at the property now known as Finn Creek Open Air Museum. He served on the Board of Directors and his days were spent mowing and maintaining the museum grounds and buildings. After the day’s work was done, you could catch him resting his eyes in the Bandstand or admiring the sunshine glinting off the blades of the wind mill. The community was well aware of the coming of the Finn Creek Summer Folk Festival when they saw Roger with raffle tickets.
Roger passed away peacefully at Tri-County Hospital in Wadena, Minnesota on November 17, 2020 at 89 years of age. He will be dearly missed by family and friends. Preceding Roger in death were his parents, Norman and Tegla Bentley, siblings: Rueben Bentley, Marvin (Kathy) Bentley and Jerry (Hazel) Bentley.
Roger is survived by his wife, Georgia Bentley of New York Mills, Sister, Alice (Clarence) Anderson of New York Mills; brother, Robert (Marlene) Bentley of Hoyt Lakes; Sister-in-Law, Shirlyn Bentley of Nisswa; Georgia’s children: Janet (Ron) Ehnert of New York Mills; Jean (Dennis) Harper of Ramsey; Joan (Terry) Grotberg of Ramsey; Herbert “Buddy” (KayAnn) Kahilainen of New York Mills; sister-in-law, Marjorie Richter of Vergas; and many other friends and family.
Memorials in Roger’s honor may be sent to Finn Creek Open Air Museum or the Charles D. Center V.F.W. Post #3289, both in New York Mills.
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