Michael Bentz

Died: Thu., May 14, 2015

Recitation of the Rosary

7:00 PM Thu., May 21, 2015
Location: Holy Family Catholic Church

Funeral Mass

10:00 AM Fri., May 22, 2015
Location: Holy Family Catholic Church

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Music by The Piano Brothers

Mike Bentz, 51 died on Thursday, May 14, 2015 due to a plane crash near Juntura, Oregon.

Recitation of the Holy Rosary will be held on Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church in Burns.  Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, May 22, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church in Burns.  A luncheon will follow immediately after Mass at the Harney County Fair Grounds.  A Private family interment will be held in Juntura, Oregon. Donations in Mike's memory can be made to the Young Ranchers Land & Livestock Fund or Re-elect Greg Walden mailed to LaFollette's Chapel, PO Box 488; Burns, Oregon 97720.

Mike Bentz was born January 18, 1964 to Ken and Anne Bentz of Drewsey, Oregon.  He was the youngest of the family, joining 5 brothers and one sister.  Raised on the family ranch he spent his young years outside working with cattle, trapping, fishing, hunting and a horse was always included.  Mike was horseback from when he was small child and both cattle and horses would define his working life. He became a respected cattleman and accomplished horseman and was able to use both to make a living and as a tool to help raise his children and many others.

Mike went to Pine Creek School for elementary, a one room school with never more than 10 kids.  He could check his coyote traps at recess and ride his colts when he got home.  He then went to high school in Burns, living with his grandmother during the week, back home on the weekends.  He played football and spent a lot of time with a young lady named Linda Clemens.  Summers were spent learning the business of ranching, at cow camp with the cattle or in the hay field.  Mike attended TVCC, Hartnell College in Salinas and Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, occasionally going to class but the focus was on rodeo.  In college, he rode saddle broncs and participated in many amateur and professional rodeos.  When he figured he had broken enough bones it was back to begin his ranching career.  

Mike married Linda in 1989 and they began their lives together on the Venator ranch SE of Crane, which along with the Wright ranch near Princeton were spilt from the family ranches to help get the young couple started.  They spent 11 years at Venator raising their five children and producing good cattle and fine horses.  In 1997, Mike had the opportunity to purchase part of the Williams ranch in Juntura.  In the next few years he was able to put the rest of the ranch together to become one of the largest family ranches in the state.  He, along with his brother Jim, were the driving force behind the Ranchers Horse sale held each June. Last year marked the 20th Anniversary of the Horse Sale.  Also, he and his wife Linda have hosted an annual    bred heifer sale held on the ranch ever November.  

Mike was aggressively professional at everything he did.  He lived life without fear, attacking and overcoming every obstacle with hard work, tenacity, brain power and strong will.  He was seemingly gruff at times but in reality was kind, gentle and thoughtful.  He was a Christian, a husband, father, horseman, skilled pilot, and accomplished cattleman. He was a spectacular roper, able to make it look effortless. He was a leader that everyone was drawn to, and even those whose feathers he ruffled respected him.  Mike was a fine hand with young horses, working with hundreds colts and nearly as many young people in the process.

He spent the last 15 years on various boards such as the Juntura Rangeland Fire Association, the Juntura School Board and Road District, and the Malheur Soil and Water Conservation District. His greatest concern was preserving our ranching tradition, truly improving sage grouse habitat and lobbying to keep the sage grouse from being listed. Mike was a true steward of land, livestock, people and his industry and community. He never passed up the opportunity to take on a project that would help make any of those better.

Mike was preceded in death by his Grandparents Stewart’s and Bentz’s as well has his Mother Anne Stewart Bentz.
He is survived by his wife and best friend Linda, children; Ethan, Garrett, Erika, Britton, Joe, and soon to be daughter-in-law Alex and grandson Colton. His father Ken Bentz, and siblings, Kathy (Jim) Neal, Cliff (Lindsay) Bentz, Jim (Alicia) Bentz, Andy (Joan) Bentz, Kenny (Debbie) Bentz, and John Bentz.

Mike lived his life the way he wanted to and he would often say that he was “living the dream”, how true and special that is. His big smile and big laugh will be greatly missed by all of us that love him.

A memorial has been set up called the Young Ranchers Land and Livestock Fund to continue Mike’s passion for helping young people get started in the ranching industry. We ask that all financial gifts go to either the memorial fund or to Greg Walden, who is the biggest supporter of agriculture in Washington D.C. You can make your check out to either:  Young Ranchers Land and Livestock Fund or Greg Walden for Congress.  Mail to: LaFollette’s Chapel, PO Box 488; Burns,Oregon 97720.

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