Paul F. Bente, Jr., Ph.D.
Paul F. Bente, Jr., Ph.D., age 95, of Landenberg, PA, passed away on Tuesday, January 22, 2013, at his home.
Born in Baltimore, MD, on April 26, 1917, Dr. Bente was the son of the late The Reverend Professor Paul F. Bente, Sr. and Sarah Jensen Bente. After a year at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO, he graduated summa cum laude in chemistry from Indiana University where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was a member of the national championship cross country team. He received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. After marrying Edna Lillian Janot in Milwaukee, WI in 1942, he began a career at DuPont in Niagara Falls, NY, later transferring to Wilmington, DE, where he retired as Venture Planning Manager in 1969. His interest in science and environmental systems broadened in the next decades. He founded an aqua-culture company, Marifarms, Inc., based in FL. He was appointed to the senior staff of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality in the Ford administration where he investigated the effects of increasing population for reports to the United Nations Conference on World Population in Bucharest (Romania) and the UN Environment Program meetings in Nairobi (Kenya), and advanced green technologies through solar biofuels programs. He served as Executive Director of the Bio-Energy Council in Washington, DC from 1979 to 1985. After retiring, he wrote his autobiography, “Bentean Motion,” in 2002 as well as a biography of his parents (2005) and a biography of his wife’s parents, Edward and Clara Janot (2011).
In his later career his remarkable perception of the earth’s finite resources and the problems caused by overpopulation led him to strongly advocate preservation and sustainability of God’s natural creations. To many, he was ahead of his time with a prophetic vision to champion methods of protecting the ecological balance of the world. His love of God’s creation kept him active in church and civic activities as his personal way to “care for creation.”
He was a lifelong member of the Lutheran Church and his church activities formed a major part of his life and travels. He served as secretary of the Board for World Missions and visited missions in Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Philippines, Papau New Guinea, and India. Later he helped form Christians Linked in Mission and its transition to International Partners in Mission, and he took leadership roles in the ELCA Division of Church in Society with a focus on Care for Creation. He was president and chairman of the building committee of Lutheran Senior Services culminating in the construction of Luther Towers in Wilmington in 1972. He was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Newark, DE since 1992.
He was a loving and devoted husband, father, and grandfather and took his children and grandchildren on innumerable trips and world-wide adventures. Each summer he cherished a return visit to “The Aerie,” a cottage at Lake Papakeechie he inherited from his parents. He enjoyed and promoted the arts, especially jazz, symphony concerts, classic plays, and he was a strong supporter of University of Delaware theatre programs. He also served as treasurer of People for Peterson during Peterson’s successful campaign for Governor of Delaware. He had a talent for architecture and designed 3 modern homes used by the family over the last 65 years.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 70 years, Edna Janot Bente; children, Paul F. Bente III (H. Bryan) of Landenberg, PA, John E. Bente (Lynn) of Panama City, FL, Peter J. Bente (Lucille “Jean”) of Nome, AK, Dr. Janot J. Bente (Dr. Stuart Lieblich) of Collinsville, CT, and Lisa E. Bente of Rockville, MD; grandchildren, Paul F. Bente IV, Katharine L. Knarreborg, Brett E. Lieblich, Margot C. Lieblich, and William E. Bente; and great grandson, William F. Bente. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Clare Moses.
A funeral service will be held at 11 am on Saturday, February 2nd, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 701 S. College Avenue, Newark, DE 19713, followed by a reception and luncheon.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Dr. Bente may be made to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at the address above, Union of Concerned Scientists at www.ucsusa.org, or International Partners in Mission at www.ipmconnect.org.