Merle McGhar Bentley

December 23, 1924 ~ January 1, 2019 (age 94)

Ruby Merle McGhar Bentley (Merle), 94, passed away on January 1, 2019, at Bethany House in Auburn, Alabama, once again proving wrong the doctors who told her family 15 months ago that she would live only a month at most. This was the last of many times she proved her doctors wrong; her independence and stubbornness are legendary.

Merle was born on December 23, 1924, in Tuskegee, Alabama, to the late Henry Lee and Madge May McGhar. She married the late Robert (Buddy) Bentley on March 23, 1950 and lived in the Woodland community of Macon County for most of her life. She was a lifelong member of Woodland Presbyterian Church. She loved to cook (her way of expressing love) and to prepare meals for her family, friends in need, her husband’s hunting and fishing buddies, and anyone just stopping by for a visit. Nothing gave her greater pleasure than for someone to ask for second or third helpings of her food. In her later years, she spent hours every day reading cookbooks as if they were magazines or novels.

In addition to her parents and husband, Merle was preceded in death by her brothers Charles Bernard and Robert Olin McGhar, her son Robert Gary Bentley, and her daughter-in-law Mandi Bentley. She is survived by her daughter Brenda Bentley Conville (Gary), of Huntsville. Her surviving grandchildren are Michael Bentley (Brittany) and their children Josh, Zoe, and Natalie, of Tallassee; April Cox (David) and their children Evelyn and Charlotte, of Huntsville; Brad Bentley (Erica) and their children Dustin, Kelsey, Dawson, and Dylan, of Auburn; Bren Bentley (Lindsey) and their children Joshua, Jordan, Gary Joe, and Jaxon, of Notasulga. She is also survived by her sister-in-law Olive McGhar; her cousin Bill Ledbetter; and numerous nieces and nephews, particularly her beloved Mitch, who fittingly nicknamed her “Boss.”

The family would like to thank Merle’s at-home caregivers for the past six years: Janice Bentley, Connie Strickland, and Faye Dunn, who cared for her as though she was their own mother. There are no words to adequately describe the love and care she received from the entire staff at Bethany House: the nurses, Clay, Jane, Judy, Mary Beth, Patrice, and Rachel; the director, Chris; Michael with facilities; and the techs, Anita, Arlene, Adrianna, Briah, Quay, and, most particularly, “Smiley,” “Biggun,” and Tracy. We never met the staff who worked late-night shifts, but we know each cared for and loved her as well. Each of you are angels from heaven here on earth.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be sent to Bethany House, 1171 Gatewood Drive, Auburn, Alabama, 36830.

Arrangements are being handled by Corbitt’s Funeral Home in Tuskegee. Visitation will be held at Woodland Presbyterian Church, AL Highway 199, Notasulga, on Friday, January 4, 2019, from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m., with services immediately following at 2:00. Burial will be beside her husband at the Antioch Methodist Church cemetery in Notasulga, which is the result, most likely, of the only argument with her that he ever won.

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