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Dale Bentley

Nov. 28, 1968-March 29, 2010

Waubun area native Dale R. Bentley, 41, of Buffalo, N.D., died Monday, March 29, 2010 at Fairview University Hospital, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

A celebration of Dale's life is set for 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 7 at the Historic Fargo Theatre, 314 Broadway North, Fargo. Visitation will be held at the Fargo Theatre one hour prior to services.

Dale Roland Bentley was born to Roland and Karen (Manning) Bentley on November 28, 1968 in Mahnomen. Dale grew up in the Waubun area and furthered his education at Moorhead State University in Moorhead. While in college, Dale became very active in the area Straw Hat group for non-equity actors, where he followed his passion for theater. Also, it was during this period of his life where he developed many lifelong friendships that would complement Dale's interests and zest for life.

Dale pursued all of his hobbies with a passionate sense of adventure and a brilliant smile on his face. He was very excited about traveling when and wherever life took him.

He was fortunate enough to spend some time in Canada and Scotland, where he developed a great interest in Scottish heritage and their modern way of living.

Dale spent many hours playing his antique grand piano while his dog "Boo" would sit under the piano and sing along.

Dale loved to play cards with anyone who was willing to challenge him, and he always had a great sense of style and believed in many old-fashioned values.

Dale had a unique interest and collection of hats and nutcrackers, which always served as great conversation pieces. He resided in a historical 1900s house that was originally built for the daughter of the first banker of Buffalo. His efforts in restoring this house to its original beauty were a continuing effort that Dale loved.

Professionally, Dale devoted his life to the preservation and restoration of the rich North Dakota history, serving as the executive director for Preservation North Dakota (PND) and worked closely with the State Historical Society.

His efforts during many projects helped align the funding, volunteers, world renowned researchers, and countless others to strengthen both groups' preservation efforts.

His work in a rural church restoration project named Prairie Churches of North Dakota was part of a national "Save America's Treasures" effort, and his work on the Old Stone Church received national recognition facilitating a trip to the nation's capital to meet with U.S. Congressmen.

During one of the final milestones of that project, Dale was fortunate enough to present and escort presidential First Lady, Laura Bush and North Dakota First Lady, Mikey Hoeven on a tour of the Historic Sims Church.

Dale's passion for the history of early North Dakota settlers led him to organize the Hutmacher Farm restoration, located in western North Dakota near Killdeer.

Dale's vision to create a symbiotic environment of restoration and demonstration facilitated a magnificent learning environment that attracted numerous volunteers and researchers studying the earthen building techniques of the Russian-German immigrants.

Although Dale became ill during this effort and did not see it through to completion, his tireless work on the Hutmacher Farm restoration and demonstration project remains popular, and will continue to inspire all involved with the project.

Another aspect of Dale's preservation legacy continues with the Dale Bentley Volunteer of the Year Award, presented annually to PND's top volunteer.

Surviving Dale are his stepfather and mother, John and Karen Rothschadl of Waubun; his father and stepmother, Roland and Marce Bentley of Twin Valley; sisters, Laurie (Trevor) Johnson, Amy (Andrew) Nelson, Kris Bentley and Angie (Bentley) Shuck; brother, Rick Bentley; grandparents, Gladys Manning, Ann Rothschadl, Carl and Lila Herzog; step-grandmother Donna Manning; three nieces and four nephews; and many beloved relatives and friends.

Preceding Dale in death were grandparents Ervin and Theodora Bentley and Marvin Manning.

Dale had requested that the April 7 service be a celebration of his life and as such he does not wish to be celebrated in the traditional black funeral attire.

David-Donehower Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Memories of Dale may be shared online at