Leo F. Bentley, Jr., 72, retired Police Chief of South Waverly, PA, passed away at home with his family by his side following his courageous battle with cancer on Tuesday, September 29, 2020.
He was born on June 12, 1948 in Waverly, NY, the son of the late Leo F., Sr. and Jean Garzia Bentley.
Leo was a graduate of Sayre High School, Class of 1966. He was a Veteran of the US Air Force, serving from 1968-1972, attaining the rank of Staff Sergeant. Upon returning home from the military, he began his career with the South Waverly Police Department in July of 1972. Leo was promoted to the position of Chief of Police in 1984, retiring in June of 2010.
His love for his family was unending. When his boys were younger, he attended all their events they participated in and he never missed an opportunity to share with others his pride in their accomplishments as young men and adults. Leo especially loved camping with his family at their favorite spots including Ricketts Glen State Park, Mormon Lake, Broken Oar, and Pine Cradle Campground. He could always be seen at his grandkids sporting events. In, 1979, Leo and his wife, Lynette, began attending the Bloomsburg Fair, and they never missed a year until the two years the fair was cancelled due to the year of the flood and this year. Leo loved travelling and this year he was looking forward to the family cruise to one of his favorite spots, the Caribbean, which unfortunately was cancelled due to COVID. His wife and family however created a place with a lighthouse and atmosphere, spending time together perhaps not on the water but on their own island.
Leo’s influence on the Valley area and his loyal and faithful service to his community of South Waverly reached far beyond his time on the police force and his legacy will remain forever. Leo was a lifetime member of the South Waverly Borough Fire Department, served on the South Waverly Fire Board from 2012-2020, and was the driving force behind the annual South Waverly Carnival that was one of the highlights for both children and adults in the Valley. Leo served on the South Waverly Borough Council from 2012-2020, serving as President from Feb. 2020 to the present. His work in South Waverly included two Borough Comprehensive Plans, updating of the Borough Council Zoning Ordinance, codification of the Borough Ordinances, serving on both the Borough Planning Commission from 2010-2017 and the Municipal Authority from 2001-2020. He was instrumental in the renovations to the Borough Hall and grounds. It included installation of new windows, doors, electrical system upgrade, installing of a security system, new siding and becoming ADA compliant. He was involved in the multi-million- dollar Street and Sanitary Projects, and more recently the construction of the new Pavilion, Walking Trail, Gaga Ball Pit, and the Playground named in memory of his brother, Lance.
On Monday evening, October 5th at 6pm, the South Waverly Borough personnel will honor Leo by renaming and dedicating the South Waverly Borough Hall as the “Leo F. Bentley, Jr. Community Hall.” The borough of South Waverly and the Valley community will ever be indebted to Leo for his love, service, and dedication to all of us. He was a life member of Sayre VFW Post #1536, a member of American Legion Post #246, Athens, and served on the Board of Directors for Greater Valley EMS, Sayre.
He is predeceased by his child Leigh Bentley and brother Richard “Lance” Bentley.
Leo is survived by his beloved wife of 41 years Lynette Wolcott Bentley at home, son and daughter-in-law Brian and Faith Bentley of Waverly, NY, son Christopher Bentley of Waverly, NY, grandchildren Nolan Beeman, Connor Bentley, Brayden Bentley, and Blake Bentley. He is also survived by his sisters and brothers-in-law Carol and Herb Wells of South Waverly, PA, Lorie and Rick Douglas of South Waverly, PA, sister-in-law Caroline Bentley of South Waverly, PA, several nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Friends and family may call on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 from 5pm – 8pm and Wednesday October 7, 2020 from 10am-11am at the Leo F. Bentley, Jr. Borough Hall (formerly the South Waverly Borough Hall), 2523 Pennsylvania Avenue, South Waverly, PA. Funeral Services will follow at 11am with the Rev. James Fox officiating. The family is being assisted by Lowery-Urban Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., Athens, PA.
Burial will follow at Tioga Point Cemetery, Athens, PA.
Memorial donations may be made in Leo’s name to the South Waverly Playground Fund, 2523 Pennsylvania Avenue, South Waverly, PA 18840.
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