Ruth Esther Lehmann Bentley

KENNEBUNK – The family of Ruth Esther Lehmann Bentley would like to share that our matriarch and foundation, departed to be with her Heavenly Father on Nov. 21, 2019, at Huntington Commons in Kennebunk.

Ruth was born April 26, 1925, at the parsonage in Crandon, Wisconsin, to Rev. Phillip Lehmann and Elenore Grosnick Lehmann. She grew up in the German communities of Wisconsin, graduating from Reedsburg High School and the University of Wisconsin with a degree in social work. In 1949, she received her MSW from the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St Louis. After working several years, she married 1st Lt. George N. Bentley on November 10, 1951 and they were blessed with three children, George Jr., Eleanor, and Anne.

As part of an Air Force family she lived, played church organ, and worked with children in Dayton, Ohio; Layton, Utah; Iwakuni and Tokyo, Japan; Cincinnati, Ohio; St Remy-sur-Avre, France; Topeka, Kansas; Washington, D.C.; and Madrid, Spain. In 1968 her husband became controller of Nasson College in Springvale, Maine, and she lived in Sanford for 29 years. Her focus in life in Sanford was family, church, and children. While there she worked as a social worker for Headstart, the Sanford School District, and Sweetser. She later volunteered at Sweetser in group homes and the crisis center until she turned 92. In 1997 she moved to her son’s house in Kennebunkport where she resided until hospitalization this summer. Her later years were spent volunteering, traveling to visit far flung family and friends, and supporting Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Kennebunk where she was a member for 45 years and the organist for 25 years. Her passions then, as always, were family and friends, classical and sacred music, especially J.S. Bach, and helping children, teenagers, and adults with mental and behavioral issues. She also served on the boards of York County United Way, Southern Maine Medical, and Sweetser, and was involved in refugee support.

Ruth was predeceased by her husband, George, in 1991, her parents, sister, Doris Urban of Watertown, brother, Dr. Arnold Lehmann of Northwestern College in Watertown Wis., and Dr. Winfred Lehmann of the University of Texas in Austin.

She is survived by her son Col. George Bentley Jr. (USAFR), daughters, Eleanor (Gordon) Merrick, and Anne (Fred) Fell; grandchildren, George III, Carsten, Thea, and Bjorn Bentley, Jessie (Tom) Herling, Gordon (Jenna) Merrick, and Connor Fell; and great-grandchildren, Aiden, Sianna, Eben, and Colin Herling; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Collectively we were blessed to have had you so long, and thankful you told us all that it was time for you to be with your Heavenly Father.

Visiting hours will be on Saturday, December 7, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer Street, Kennebunk, followed by a Funeral Service at 12:00 noon at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 2 Lord Street, Kennebunk. A luncheon/ reception will be held at the church following the service. Burial will be at a later date, joining her husband in Arlington National Cemetery.

Gib Gott Ehre und habe ein grosszugigies Herz.

To share a memory or leave a message of condolence, please visit Ruth’s Book of Memories Page at

Arrangements are in care of Bibber Memorial Chapel, 67 Summer Street, Kennebunk, ME 04043.

In lieu of flowers she desired donations to:

Sweetser, Development Office – J2,

50 Moody Street,

Saco, Maine 04072;

or, the Brown School of Washington University,

One Brookings Drive,

St. Louis, MO 63130;

or, Holy Cross

Lutheran Church,

2 Lord Street,

Kennebunk, ME 04043.

As one who was also

very generous, she would encourage giving to

wherever it is needed.