Ken Bentz

Died: Sat., Mar. 14, 2020


Mass of Christian Burial

12:00 PM Wed., Mar. 18, 2020
Location: Holy Family Catholic Church


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Kenneth John Bentz passed away in Ontario, Oregon on 14 March 2020 at the age of 95. Ken was born on Dec. 13, 1924 to John and Mae Peters Bentz in their mill house at Roaring Springs in Linn County Oregon.

Ken was the 4th of 7 children and the oldest son.
The family moved to Sublimity, Oregon to a small farm so the kids could attend St. Boniface School. Soon the Great Depression was in full swing. Like so many others, those struggles molded him for life in both family and business matters.
As a young man, Ken worked in the woods and mills until enlisting in the Navy. He served in the Pacific theater during WWII. After his service he joined two brothers in laws in a sawmill operation in the Monterey, California area.
Having grown up wanting to learn about the east side ranching industry he and lifelong friend Dick Cremer headed towards Jordan Valley. They stopped a bit short of there when they were hired on to the White Horse Ranch owned by Paul and Ruth Stewart. It was there that his education began. For the rest of his life when anyone asked him where he went to college, he would just say the “University of White Horse”.
Paul and Ruth became his in laws when Ken married Paul and Ruth’s daughter Anne in 1949. They then split their time between the White Horse and a ranch they started in Linn County. During these years the first 4 children joined the family. In 1960 they returned full time to the White Horse. When Paul and Ruth sold the ranch and retired to Caldwell, Ken and Anne moved north of Drewsey and started the V Dash Cattle Company. The last three children were born making 7.
Ken was a successful cowman and developed good working ranches. Along with Anne they made sure the kids were raised with a strong work ethic and a real sense of Stewardship not only for the land and animals but one’s communities as well. They lead by example, always ready to help someone in need or helping others become more successful and fulfill their dreams. Ken and Anne served their communities, Schools and Industry with service on many boards and committees. Ken was a Harney County Commissioner and always challenging his kids with the question of “How big is one’s back yard”? Meaning you are responsible for more than just yourself.
The kids thank their Father and Mother for a strong sense of family, encouragement to try new things, insistence on critical thinking, determination to finish any job, a love of books, honesty and generosity.
Ken dreamed of being a cowman and his dream was fulfilled. The ride may have been bumpy from time to time but thanks for bringing us all along.
Ken leaves behind daughter Kathy and Jim Neal, sons, Senator Cliff and Dr. Lindsay Norman, Jim and Alicia, Sheriff Andy (ret.) and Joan, Ken and Debbie, Fr. Jack Bentz S.J., and daughter-in-law Linda Bentz.
20 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and many friends and he so enjoyed mentoring and supporting on their way to success.
Ken was preceded in death by his wife Anne Stewart Bentz and youngest son Michael T. Bentz, his parents, in-laws and all his siblings.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at the Holy Family Catholic Church at 12:00 PM, Wednesday, March 18th followed by interment and military honors.

Due to current virus concern the family will not hold a reception.

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