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Jerry Bentley

Jerry Basel Bentley, 82, of New York Mills, passed away June 8, 2009, at the Elders' Home in New York Mills.

He was born June 4, 1927, to Norman and Tegla (Tapio) Bentley, at his grandparents' homestead, which is now Finn Creek Museum, rural New York Mills. As he was growing up, he spent quality time with Abner and Hilda Fiskari. When he was 16 years old he began sailing on the Great Lakes. He was employed on the iron ore boats for a total of 35 years. He served in the Army from Aug. 29, 1945, to Dec. 6, 1946, in Alaska and was honorably discharged. On May 9, 1953, he married Hazel Hilma Fiskari. Their marriage was blessed with three daughters: Sandi, Lisa and Becky. He and Hazel made their home on the farm in Newton Township, rural New York Mills. While he continued employment on the Great Lakes, he farmed and then retired from sailing in 1991. During retirement, he enjoyed the farm with his family and grandchildren. He also enjoyed gardening, winter spear fishing and he had a passion for polka music.

Funeral services were held Thursday, June 11, at the Apostolic Lutheran Church in New York Mills, with the Rev. Don Salo officiating. The pallbearers were David Mann, Eric Enger, Joel Jacobs, Jerry Anderson, Robert Anderson and Clarence Anderson. Military honors were provided by the Charles D. Center VFW Post 3289 of New York Mills. He was laid to rest in Woodland Cemetery, New York Mills. Arrangements were provided by the Karvonen & Son Funeral Home in New York Mills (

Survivors include his wife, Hazel Bentley of New York Mills; daughters, Sandi Bentley of Thief River Falls, Lisa (David) Mann of New York Mills and Becky (Eric) Engler of New York Mills; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; sister, Alice (Clarence) Anderson of New York Mills; brothers, Roger (Georgia) Bentley of New York Mills and Robert (Marlene) Bentley of Hoyt Lakes, Minn.; sisters-in-law, Kathy Bentley of New York Mills and Shirlyn Bentley of Pequot Lakes; many nieces, nephews and other relatives; and a host of friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; parents-in-law, Harry and Hilma Fiskari; brothers, Rueben and Marvin Bentley; and brothers-in-law, Marshall and Stanley Fiskari.