Robert Gene Bentley, 60, of Tecumseh, passed away Tuesday, July 23, 2019, in Oklahoma City.

Robert Gene Bentley, 60, of Tecumseh, passed away Tuesday, July 23, 2019, in Oklahoma City.

Robert was born the third child of four on Nov. 6, 1958, to James H. and Mayme Ruth (Smith) Bentley in Slayton, Minnesota. Being part of an Air Force military family, Robert and his older sisters, Vickie and Debbie, and younger brother, Danny, grew up in several locations in the United States, including Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri and Oklahoma and Germany (three years). During the times his father was on remote assignment, the family lived in Tecumseh and Wanette. After his parents’ retirement in Tecumseh, Robert graduated from Tecumseh High School, class of 1977.

He was a photographer and he wrote for the school newspaper. He liked drama and shared many school activities with friends who became lifelong friends. He loved listening to music, riding motorcycles and fixing up cars.

He attended St. Gregory’s College in Shawnee after graduation, where he met Kathryn Kienzle, becoming best friends. They married after about five years and have been married for 36 years, still best friends and loves.

Robert lived in the Shawnee/Tecumseh area having several different jobs over the years. After the birth of his son, Sean Bentley, Robert returned to college, attending the University of Oklahoma, and during this time his daughter, Laura Bentley, was born. He received a B.A. degree in psychology and sociology, then while teaching classes as a graduate assistant, finished his master’s degree in sociology at O.U. He was a Carl Albert Executive Fellow Internship recipient (a prestigious honor) and began working for the Oklahoma State Department of Human Services as a Researcher in the Office of Planning, Policy and Research. His work provided the state with important money saving information from statistical research and helped law makers make better decisions in running the government. Robert worked as a senior researcher for 11-12 years at OKDHS at the State Capitol at the Sequoyah Building and also started a consulting service with a colleague and friend.

Throughout his life he enjoyed spending his time with his parents and family, who were the most important people in his life. He enjoyed walking, music, photography, science fiction, keeping up with current events—political, scientific, exploring new ideas, wondering about the world and cosmos and spending time with his friends.

Robert and his family lived for several years in Tecumseh; previously living in Shawnee (Norman and Wanette for a short time). Robert was a great intellect tempered with a biting wit, outgoing personality and giving heart. He was a unique and special person and the world is a better place for having him in it.

The last two to three years, Robert was diagnosed with a disabling neurological disease similar to Parkinson’s, which ultimately lead to his death on July 23, 2019.

He was preceded in death by his parents, James and Ruth Bentley; and his brother, Danny Bentley.

Survivors include his wife, Kathryn “Kathy” Bentley of the home; children, Sean Bentley and Laura Bentley of Tecumseh; sisters and brothers-in-law, Vicki and Eric Ehst (nephews, Spencer and Nick Ehst) of Phoenix, Arizona, and Debbie Carter of Phoenix, Arizona; sisters-in-law, Karol Kienzle Olten (niece and nephew, Lauren Dunkelberger and Josh Rogers), Kay Kienzle-Harris and Scott Harris (nieces, Zoe Harris and Megan Peixotto) of Jenks; brother-in-law, Karl and Tess Kienzle of Lawton; and many beloved cousins and countless friends.

The family has designated Brain Support Network, P.O. Box 7264, Menlo Park, CA 94026; as appropriate for memorials in lieu of flowers.

Visitation will be from noon to 8 p.m., Friday, July 26, and will continue through service time.

Service will be 2 p.m., Saturday, July 27, at Cooper Funeral Home Chapel with Ken Kickham officiating. Burial will follow at Wanette Cemetery under the direction of Cooper Funeral Home of Tecumseh.

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