Ralph Edward Bentley

12/11/1940 - 05/26/2024


Obituary For Ralph Edward Bentley

Ralph Edward Bentley passed away May 26, 2024, at his home after battling colon cancer throughout the past year. He was born in Athens, Ohio to Joseph and Patience Bentley. He is survived by his wife Betty Gay "France" Bentley, his daughter Ernestine Bentley Brady (Jim), his grandchildren Jonathan Brady (Samantha) and Jennifer Brady (Seth), his great grandchildren Dean James and Jason Lane. He is also survived by another daughter Donna and a sister Elsie. Ralph was preceded in death by his parents; and 3 brothers: William "Bill," Joseph "Louis," and James; and daughter Diane.

I am not sure when I gave my dad Ralph his nickname "King Ralph" but it was shortly after he moved our family up to Detour Village in 1985. He lived life to the fullest during his 40 years of retirement. Hunting and Fishing was his thing. He had always loved the Upper Peninsula and he thrived here.

We have thousands of game camera pictures of wildlife such as deer, turkeys, rabbits, grouse, fox, coyotes, bobcat, an occasional cougar and what he loved to bait and hunt the most the black bear. He tended to his wooded acres like a person would tend to their back yard. He knew every bend of every path. He knew the paths the wildlife traveled. In 2022 just a couple months before the cancer diagnosis, he got the biggest black bear of his life. His patience meticulously baiting and keen woodsman skills were just as sharp at 81 years of age if not better than when he was a younger man.

St Mary's River was where he enjoyed his summer months. He learned the river and every rock pile in it. He was out there every day at 5 am from opening of walleye season in May until end of the annual Detour Village Salmon Derby. He won first place 4 times in this derby. The first time was in 1994 (24.71 #). The second time was with his biggest salmon over 30 pounds in 1999. Then again in 2001 (24.945#) and in 2012 he placed first, third and fourth (19.55#, 16.75# and 16.4#).

He developed close friendships with his fellow neighbors who also shared the same love of fishing and hunting. They cheered each other on in good times and supported each other when needed. He smoked fish every year in his homemade smoker and made sure everyone in the neighborhood got a sample. And it was delicious! If anyone needed a hole or trench dug, my dad was out the door eager to help with his backhoe. He loved to stay busy in his own slow and steady pace.

Besides his passion for the outdoors, my dad was there every day for his grandchildren Jonathan and Jennifer. He found a property near his house where my husband Jim and I decided to move in 1995. My dad along with my mom and grandma became our "babysitters". He shared his love for the outdoors and wildlife with both Jon and Jen.

Ralph lived life fully up until the end. He has given us countless precious stories to remember and share about all our past adventures with him. He will be missed greatly!

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:18, "For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen". At death you won't leave home - you'll go home.

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