Colonel William A. Bentz, United States Army, Retired, passed away suddenly on Tuesday, April 11. He was born in Newark, Ohio on September 16, 1938 to Robert W. Bentz and Elsie O’Toole Bentz. Bill attended Blessed Sacrament Grade School and in 1956, he graduated Saint Francis de Sales High School. He attended the University of Dayton and graduated in 1960 with a degree in Business Administration and a Regular United States Army Commission in the Infantry. Bill took pride in being a Distinguished Military Graduate. Bill married Karla Mason, his high school sweetheart, that same year. Shortly thereafter, they were off to travel the world as Bill served 31 years in the United States Army.
As an Infantry Officer, Bill fulfilled three tours in Viet Nam. After the Berlin Wall went up, Lieutenant Bentz was one of the first Officers in charge of Checkpoint Charlie, with many additional tours in Berlin, Germany as a Military Intelligence Officer. Other tours of duty included Berlin Field Office, Commander 766th Military Intelligence; Commander 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Commander 513th Military Intelligence Brigade, Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Colonel Bentz completed his military career as Deputy Chief of Staff, Intelligence – United States Command, Berlin, when the Berlin Wall fell.
During his military career, Colonel Bentz attended Infantry Officers’ Basic Course and Airborne School, United States Army Intelligence School and Command and General Staff College. He subsequently attended the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where he was also awarded a Master of Science Degree in Business from Salve Regina University.
Military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and two Oak Leaf Clusters, Legion of Merit with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and the Parachutist’s Badge.
Bill, with Karla, enjoyed over 20 years in retirement residing in Williamsburg, Virginia, where he was a faithful member of Saint Bede Catholic Church. His main interests were his beloved family, leisure travel, golf, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Even though a UD Grad, he was known as “Buckeye Bill”, proudly driving his scarlet and gray truck.
Surviving are his wife, Karla, of 62 years; his children, Leslie (Ken) Larsen and Lawrence (Janet) Bentz. A son, Brian, is deceased. Grandchildren are Ryan J. Larsen and William K. Bentz. Deceased are his parents and his sisters, Gretchen O’Neill and Judy McMaken. A half-brother, Bob Bentz, who Bill considered a brother, survives, along with many beloved nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Mass will take place on Friday, May 19 at 12:00pm at Saint Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg. A burial service in Newark, Ohio will follow at a later date.
To honor Bill, donations may be made to The Brian Joseph Bentz ROTC Scholarship Fund, University of Dayton, 300 College Park, Dayton, Ohio 45469 or Williamsburg House of Mercy, 10 Harrison Avenue, Williamsburg, Virginia 23185.
Saint Bede Catholic Church - Directions
3686 Ironbound Road
Williamsburg, VA 23188