James C. “Pete” Bentley, Jr., 96, passed away on February 20, 2021 at the Presbyterian Home in Quitman, Georgia. He was born November 23, 1924 in Brooks County, Georgia where he resided his entire life. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 69 years, Josie Harrell Bentley, his daughter Marjorie Bentley Singletary, his parents James Claude and Grace Littleton Bentley, and his brother Thomas E. Bentley. He is survived by his daughters Bobbie Bentley Crook (Harry) and Joyce Bentley Hughes (Dale), son -in-law Scooter Singletary; grandchildren Chip Crook, Joanna Treves, Monty Singletary, Ben Singletary, and Lindsay Hughes. Great granddaughters Baylie and Raelin Treves.
Upon High School graduation, he served his county in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He fought on Saipan and Okinawa and was at Okinawa on “D” day, April 1, 1945. He also served active and inactive duty during the Korean Conflict. Pete attended Beulah Baptist Church where he served as Chairman of the Deacons and was Sunday School Superintendent for twenty-two years. He retired from South Georgia Grocery Company after thirty-five years. Former Governor Lester Maddox appointed him a Lieutenant Colonel Aide De Camp. He is a recipient of the Cross of Military Service from the United Daughters of the Confederacy, Quitman Chapter #112. He is a charter and life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #5659 of Quitman, Georgia.
He petitioned and received the degrees of Masonry in the Sholto Lodge #237 Quitman, Georgia and became a Master Mason on October 4, 1951. During his nearly seventy years as a Mason, he held many positions and received many accolades. He was a Royal Arch Mason, elected Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of the State of Georgia, knighted a member of Malta Commandery #16 Knights Templar of Valdosta, Georgia and served as Right Eminent Grand Commander of Georgia. He was a member of the Scottish Rite and served as Past President of the Scottish Rite Foundation of Georgia. He was also a 33rd Degree Mason and was a recipient of the Order of the Purple Cross York Rite Sovereign College of North America.
He was a member of the Hasan Temple in Albany, Georgia where he served as Ambassador at Large Emeritus. He was a member of the Brooks County Shrine Club and member of the Royal Order of Jesters. As a Shriner, he worked tirelessly to raise monies for the Shriners Hospital for Children. During his many years of service as a Shriner, it became his lifelong goal and mission to earn monies for the children’s hospital. He was instrumental in raising hundreds of thousand dollars to fund the hospital due to the generosity of the people of Brooks County who willingly donated.
A graveside service will be held Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Oak Hill Cemetery with Rev. Steve Shierling officiating. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his honor to the Shriners Hospital for Children (Hasan Temple 1822 Palmyra Road, Albany, Georgia 31701). The family request that mask be worn and observe social distancing.
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