Graveside services for Judith Ann Bentley, 81, West Plains, Missouri, will be held at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, September 10, 2022 at Oak Lawn Cemetery, under the direction of Robertson-Drago Funeral Home.
Mrs. Bentley passed away at 9:11 a.m., Monday, August 22, 2022, at her home.
She was born August 19, 1941, to Joe T. Faulkner and Margaruite Marie Brasher Faulkner Cole, in Paragould, Arkansas. Judy moved to West Plains while in junior high, becoming a Zizzer like her two older brothers, K. Don and Joe E. Faulkner. Her mother, Marie Cole, was the owner of the Cinderella Café on the Square at that time, a popular gathering place and location of many good memories. She graduated in 1959 and married her high school sweetheart James (Jim) Royce Bentley on January 24, 1960. Judy worked at Brill Title Company in West Plains and had several similar jobs in Rolla, Missouri, while Jim completed his civil engineering degree. After Jim’s graduation, they returned to West Plains where he worked for the Missouri Highway Department until an opportunity with the Army Corps of Engineers took them and their two small daughters, Pam and Jennifer, to Memphis, Tennessee. Judy managed the household as they raised the girls and added son Christopher in 1970. In 1977, Jim, Judy and family moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where Jim worked for the Lower Mississippi Valley Division of the Corps. Judy became an avid bird watcher and enthusiast, developing a life-long interest in all things to do with Birds – even joining a local birding group named the “Vicksbirders”. Throughout Jim’s long career with the Corps of Engineers, Judy accompanied him on many river trips and outdoor events, traveling extensively and adding to her Life List of bird sightings. After their three children graduated from Mississippi State University, Judy fulfilled her goal of attending college herself, completing her Bachelor’s Degree in English, with honors, from Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi. She was an enthusiastic volunteer in her community, from working with special needs children to chairing church committees and food drives. Judy was known for her kind and generous heart, for reaching out to others who needed anything with which she could assist. After Jim’s retirement in 1995, the couple moved back to their beloved West Plains, where they reconnected with many dear friends and relatives. Jim passed away in 2007, and Judy then focused on her volunteer efforts, her family and her friends. Her heart was filled and her faith made stronger by her membership at First United Methodist Church, where she worked with such projects as Vacation Bible School and Christ’s Kitchen, a particular labor of love for her. She also volunteered at Ozarks Medical Center, providing hospice companionship and working at the Thrift Store. Her most recent personal project was to provide a greeting card ministry to any and all people who might need to receive a “hug” or acknowledgement in their mailbox. Judy also loved to receive mail herself and was especially grateful for the hundreds of cards and messages she received during her long, final health battle. She was a member of P.E.O. Chapter CM, through which she gained many treasured friendships.
Judy is survived by her three children, Pamela Dale and husband, Brad, of Tecumseh, Missouri, Jennifer Booher and husband, Michael, of Hernando, Mississippi and James Christopher Bentley and wife, Ivonne, of Collierville, Tennessee; her much-loved grandchildren, Shelby Dale Martin and husband, Brent, of Cato, Mississippi, Samuel Booher and wife, Laura, of Hernando, Mississippi, Jackson Bentley and partner, Veronica Bristol, of Madison, Tennessee, and Sophia Bentley, of Collierville, Tennessee; two great-grandchildren were her pride and joy, Millie Grae Martin and Maddyx Claire Martin, of Cato, Mississippi; a very dear and special friend, Donna Hall, of West Plains, provided much love and support for Judy when it was most needed; one brother, K. Don Faulkner, of Fort Myers, Florida; four sisters, Lucy Maples and husband, Larry, of Knoxville, Tennessee, Carolyn Maples and husband, Wally, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Nancy Northern and husband, Donnie, of Hermitage, Tennessee and Mary Ann Hull, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and several nieces and nephews.
Her parents, husband and one brother, Joe E. Faulkner, preceded her in death.
Many prayers of gratitude are given for the support and love from Judy’s many friends and relatives throughout her illness, as well as the caregivers and medical personnel who helped her so graciously and with such expertise.
Following the service, a celebration of Judy’s life and reunion of friends and relatives will be held at her West Plains residence.
Memorial contributions may be made to Shaw Cancer Center of Ozarks Healthcare or Ozarks Healthcare Hospice and may be left at or mailed to Robertson-Drago Funeral Home, 211 West Main, West Plains, MO 65775. Online condolences may be expressed at www.robertsondrago.com.