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Orville G. Bentley

Orville G. Bentley, 86, of Urbana, IL, died Sunday, October 10, 2004, at Meadowbrook Health Center in Urbana.

Memorial services for Mr. Bentley were held Thursday, October 14 at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church with the Reverend Robert Rasmus officiating.

Private entombment was held at Grandview Mausoleum, Champaign, IL.

He was born on March 6, 1918 in Midland, SD, the son of Thomas O. and Ida Marie Sandal Bentley. He married Enolia “Nolie” J. Bentley September 19, 1942, at Alcester, SD.

Mr. Bentley was very proud of his pioneering Norwegian ancestors and of the family ranching business in South Dakota. He will be remembered as a strong proponent of the university land grant system.

Mr. Bentley graduated from South Dakota State University, Brookings, in 1942 with a bachelor of science degree, and from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a master of science degree in 1947 and a Ph.D. in 1950. He became a major in the Army Forces Chemical Warfare Service, serving in Egypt, North Africa and Italy. He joined the Animal Sciences Department at Ohio Agriculture Experiment Station in Wooster in 1950, and in 1958 was named dean of the College of Agriculture and Biological Sciences and director of the Agriculture Experiment Station at South Dakota State University. He was named dean of the College of Agriculture at the UI in 1965.

In 1982, he was named the first assistant secretary of agriculture for science and education in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He returned to the UI in 1989 as an international agriculture senior adviser.

He was named to a Vietnam food production review team by Secretary of Agriculture Orville Freeman and to the Board for International Food and Agriculture Development by President Gerald Ford. He was appointed to a trade mission to Central and South America by Secretary of Agriculture John Block. South Dakota State University and the University of Wisconsin awarded him honorary doctor of science degrees, and alumni associations at South Dakota State and the UI gave him Distinguished Service Awards.

He was a member of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, Rotary International, Urbana, the Dial Club, and many other professional organizations.

Orville is survived by his wife, Nolie, and two sons, Peter T. Bentley of Riverside, CA, and Craig E. Bentley of Wellesley, MA; three sisters, Dorothy Nelson of Fargo, ND, Alice Gambrel of Kennesaw, GA, and Sue Bentley of Cedar Rapids, IA; a brother, Curtis Bentley of Philip, SD; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by three brothers and two sisters.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made of the church, 2200 S. Philo Road, Urbana, IL 16801; the UI Bentley Scholarship Fund, Harker Hall, 1305 W. Green St., Urbana, IL; or to the South Dakota State University Bentley Scholarship Fund, 920 Ninth St., Box 525, Brookings, SD 57097.