Peter McBee Bentley, 71, passed away Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Southern Hills Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, surrounded by his family. Peter was born Jan. 27, 1945 to Bradford and Sally (Mc Bee) Bentley in Boston, Massachusetts.
He attended Valley Forge Military Academy in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Pete attended Parsons college in Iowa just long enough to meet his future wife, Sharyn Clement. They married on Oct. 30, 1966 in Gross Pointe Woods. Pete and Sharyn were delighted to celebrate their golden anniversary this past fall with their family at the church they were married in.
Soon after their wedding Pete entered the U.S. Army, and they were eventually stationed in Germany. After four years in the Army Pete began working in sales for his father Wolcott's family business. The Merrow Machine Company produced industrial sewing machines and Pete worked there for 17 years. Once the business was sold he moved his family to Michigan to be closer to Sharyn's family.
In 1986 Pete and Sharyn began running Traverse City's iconic ice cream shop, Bardon's Wonder Freeze. They owned Bardon's for 20 years before happily retiring after the summer of 2006. They also ran the concession stand at Hickory Hills Ski Lodge for nine years. He only took a year off before his desire for community and hard work brought him back into the work force as a courier for Traverse City State Bank. He worked there until the fall of 2015.
Pete loved the Grand Traverse area and all that encompassed life in Northern Michigan. He volunteered many hours with the Traverse City Elks Club, the Inland Seas Education Association and the NMC Barbecue. He and Sharyn volunteered at the Cherry Festival as ambassadors and drove the concession cart.
Peter was a bowler and enjoyed playing golf. For the past 10 years he was a league player at the Elmbrook Golf Course. He and Sharyn were avid movie goers at the State Theater and went to many Trojan football games long after their kids graduated. He was a talented woodworker and built several creative pieces of furniture for his home as well as for his kids. He built a handful of ships in bottles and many model boats. Pete loved the water and spent countless hours in his sail boat and on the beach with Sharyn. He enjoyed a good road trip and got a kick out of taking his golf clubs and bike as many places as possible. He was proud to have traveled to all 50 states. The last state to be checked off the list was Alaska, where he adventured into the wilderness on a family fishing trip with his son, Mike, and brother-in-law, Steve. He loved spending time with and spoiling his granddaughters, Nichole and Grace.
He is survived by his wife, Sharyn (Clement) Bentley, of Traverse City; daughter, Cheryl (Evan) Meredith, of Lakewood, Ohio; son, Michael (Jennifer) Bentley,of Battle Creek; sister, Missy (Steve) Buzzard, of Centralia, Washington; brother, David (Sherry) Bentley, of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire; and grandchildren, Nichole Bentley and Grace Meredith.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Bradford Bentley and Sally and Wolcott Merrow.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2017, at 11 a.m., with visitation beginning at 10 a.m., at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home.
Those wishing an expression of sympathy may direct contributions to the Inland Seas Education Association, PO Box 218, Suttons Bay, MI 49682.
Please share your thoughts and memories of Peter with his family by way of his online guestbook at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being cared for by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Service.
Published on April 16, 2017