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Tea Party pioneer Bentley dies

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By Ian White

JOHN BENTLEY, one of the county’s most popular politicians, has died at the age of 73 following a long battle with cancer.
Born in Fort Worth in December 1942, the businessman moved to League City in 1999 and became involved in the county’s political arena after the 2008 presidential election.

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By the following April, he and his wife Geri had become two of the founding members of Clear Lake Tea Party and he was elected its second chairman in 2010.
This year, Bentley, right, was president of Galveston County Tea Party and he was a leading light in the membership of the county’s mainstream Republican party organization as well.
At the time of his death, he was also a member of the county’s United Board Of Health.
The eldest of four children, Bentley gained a bachelor’s degree in education at Texas Tech University, which he attended on an athletics scholarship, playing both baseball and football for the school.
He then taught high-school students before forming his own construction company, specializing in custom homes and remodeling.
After meeting Geri at a dance, they migrated to Santa Barbara, California, where they married in 1990. Their family now includes four children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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Geri, who is now mayor pro-tem for League City, said: “Every day was an adventure with John. We didn’t plan ahead a whole bunch. He loved traveling in this country and was a true patriot.”
She said that, despite her husband’s many accomplishments, “it was never about him”.
“He had a big heart and was selfless,” she said.
“He enjoyed seeing other people succeed and loved to mentor them. He was always helping other people getting elected or doing something. That’s who he was. Really, he was such a good guy.”
A memorial service will be held at 2:00pm on Saturday, January 16, at Sagemont Baptist church in Houston, the church known for its 170-feet-high white cross that dominates the skyline at the intersection of I-45 and Beltway 8.

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