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“Dear Ruth, I am so sorry to read of Dick's passing in the Des Moines Register. He lived a long and productive life helping others. My parents...Read More »
1 of 23 | Posted by: Amy Plymat - Johnston, IA

“Dear Sarah, Although we left on earth mourn your dad's passing, the Kingdom of Heaven is rejoicing at his rebirth. I am so sad for you and your...Read More »
2 of 23 | Posted by: Tricia McClain - Altoona, IA

“Stephen and I are so sorry to hear about the loss of Dick. Our prayers and thoughts are with Ruth and the whole family. Nancy and Stephen Cree ”
3 of 23 | Posted by: Nancy & Stephen Cree - Iowa City, IA

“I remember when Dick as in Newton, Iowa. He was very well liked by our folks, Ralph & Wilma Agar. I know he is in a better place now and they are...Read More »
4 of 23 | Posted by: The Reverend Wes Agar - Bellevue, NE

“I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. Richard and John are probably discussing why they waited so long to join the Jesus they preached about so many...Read More »
5 of 23 | Posted by: Sandy Cornish - Leesburg, FL

“We are very sorry for your loss, Richard was a great asset to his friends,family and his community he will be greatly missed by everyone that knew...Read More »
6 of 23 | Posted by: Bruce and Joyce Congdon and Family - IA

“Becky, I am so sorry for your loss and want you to know we will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers. Having lost my Dad this past...Read More »
7 of 23 | Posted by: Bob Lane - Indianola, IA

“Dear Ruth and family, I would like to send Condolences from my mother, Doris Garmatter Hamman, who was in Torre Pellice Italy with Dick. She has...Read More »
8 of 23 | Posted by: emilie hamman - Lima, OH

“Sarah - I was so sorry to read of your dad's death in the DSM Register. I don't know what you are personally going thru but I know how hard it is to...Read More »
9 of 23 | Posted by: Anne Rehnstrom - Urbandale, IA

“Dear Becky, So sorry to hear of the loss of your precious Dad ~ even when you know that this is the order of life, it is still a tender time. I...Read More »
10 of 23 | Posted by: Shelly Priebe - Indianola, IA

“My sympathies on the loss of a great minister -- the only one I remember from our home church in Altoona. ”
11 of 23 | Posted by: cindy - cedar falls, IA

“Becky, I still remember coming to your house and our play times together...with your Dad seeming to loom over us keeping track of our mischief! I am...Read More »
12 of 23 | Posted by: Nancy Harridge - friend of Becky

“Grace and peace to Ruth,Rebecca, Sarah, John, and Philip. Richard was a great friend and peer. We will miss his presence but will continue to...Read More »
13 of 23 | Posted by: Robert Hartzler - Wayland, IA

“Our prayers are with all of you. Dick was/is an inspiration to so many. May you feel God's never-failing love.Alan, Tim and William ”
14 of 23 | Posted by: The Rev. Alan R. Hesse - walpole, MA

“We remember Rev. Bentzinger when he was pastor in our home town of Moulton, IA & wish to express our sympathy to Ruth & the entire family. We are...Read More »
15 of 23 | Posted by: Martin & Norma (Olson) Stevenson - IA

“Phil, Kari and Bentzinger family, Very sorry to hear of your Dad's passing. May God continue to bless the Bentzinger family. We will keep you in our...Read More »
16 of 23 | Posted by: Kent and Monica DeCook - MN

“Phil, I am so sorry for the loss of your Dad. Your family is in my prayers. May God comfort you during this time, and know that your Dad has...Read More »
17 of 23 | Posted by: Greg Taylor - Federal Way, WA

“Rev. Bentzinger (Dick) and Ruth showed us in our married life that "God loves us and has a perfect plan for our lives", and after thirty-six years we...Read More »
18 of 23 | Posted by: Tim & Patty Dykstra - Friends

“Tom & I were married almost 34 years ago by Rev. Bentzinger in Newton and we were neighbors with the family. My sympathy and prayers to the family...Read More »
19 of 23 | Posted by: Jill Bishop Eaton - Marshalltown, IA

“For Emma, I'm sorry for your loss. I hope you have many wonderful memories and pictures of your Grandpa that you can pull out when you're thinking...Read More »
20 of 23 | Posted by: Karen Lowder

“For Ethan, I'm sorry for your loss. I know what it's like to lose a beloved grandparent, but try to remember that love endures beyond this life and...Read More »
21 of 23 | Posted by: Karen Lowder

“My favorite memory happened When Rebecca arranged for me to suprise Richard and I showed up at his 90th Birthday Party and he thought Rebecca was...Read More »
22 of 23 | Posted by: Edwina Flynn - Brookeville, MD

“We are very blessed to have known Richard and to spend time with him. He will be missed. ”
23 of 23 | Posted by: Kevin & Shannon Schneider


Richard Alvin Bentzinger (Dick), son of Carl M. and Edna Jane (Benjamin) Bentzinger, was born May 4th, 1920 at Donnellson, Iowa. He departed this life on Saturday, August 21st, 2010 under the care of hospice at the Great River Medical Center in Burlington, Iowa. He had attained the age of 90 years, 3 months and 17 days.

Richard was a graduate of the Donnellson High School, class of 1937. He then enrolled at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mt. Pleasant, from which he was graduated with a B.A. in English. He was proud to be a 2nd generation Iowa Wesleyan legacy. He was a member and two-time president of Wesleyan's Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

As a pacifist and conscientious objector, he served in Civilian Public Service under the World Peace Commission of the Methodist Church and Mennonite Central Committee from 1942 - 1946. Objecting to war and violence, he gave witness to his love of God and Country in alternative service projects: land conservation (Nebraska), fighting forest fires (Glacier National Park) and working at a state psychiatric hospital (Virginia).

After the War, from 1946 -1948 he volunteered for relief and rehabilitation work in war-torn Italy under the joint administration of the Mennonite Central Committee and the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). He was assigned to the beautiful village of Torre Pelice in the mountains of northwest Italy, where he was the liaison person between the Mennonite Church and the Waldensian Church of Italy. He maintained contact with his Italian friends throughout his life and returned to Italy four times with Ruth and his children.

Upon returning to the United States, he was appointed to the Methodist Church in Moulton, Iowa from 1949 - 1955. On Sunday February 28th, 1954 he was united in marriage with Marian Ruth Edwards at the Moulton Methodist Church.

Richard was graduated from Boston University School of Theology in 1958 with an S.T.B. degree, and was the associate pastor of St. Mark's Methodist Church in Brookline, Massachusetts during his seminary years. He was ordained an Elder in the South Iowa Conference of the Methodist Church that same year.

He was appointed to Altoona Methodist Church from 1958 - 1968; St. John's United Methodist Church in Des Moines from 1968 - 1974; Senior Pastor of Newton First United Methodist Church from 1974- 1988. He then retired to his hometown of Donnellson, Iowa and pastored the Mennonite-Presbyterian Yoked Fellowship from 1988 - 2005.

Throughout his ministry he was active in peace organizations, including Iowans For Peace, President of Iowa PAX, an organization to promote peace education and other anti-draft and anti-war efforts. He founded, organized and directed the work of the Clergy Review Board, a group of some 100 Iowa Clergy of various denominations, that heard and screened more than 300 cases of conscientious objectors, with recommendations for classification to Local Selective Service Boards.

He was on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement through the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People (NAACP). He and Ruth participated in the historic Civil Rights "March on Washington", August 28, 1963.

Richard was elected President of the Des Moines Area Council of Churches and was a board member and past President of the Iowa Council on Alcohol Problems.

For four and half years, he was the featured Protestant spokesman on "Religion Speaks", a 30-minute, Protestant-Catholic-Jewish panel discussion of current events, heard weekly on Radio Station WHO, Des Moines, and sponsored by the National Conference on Christians and Jews. He was Vice-President and Past-President of the Iowa State Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

For the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church, he served on the Board of Ministry and the Board of Pensions. He spent many years as a youth worker in the Iowa Conference and was Past-President of Iowa-Des Moines Conference Methodist Youth Fellowship; District Director of Youth Work--Ottumwa and Des Moines Districts; Camp Director and Counselor--South Iowa Conference and he organized and directed (for four years) the South Iowa Conference Work Camp with migrant workers in the Muscatine Area.
He was an accomplished musician, playing the piano and organ. He toured with the Boston University Seminary Singers and was soloist for many events.

He served on the Board of Directors of the Preferred Risk Insurance Company of Des Moines (now GuideOne).

In 1977, Iowa Wesleyan College conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity. This recognized his front-line social concern as an Iowa Wesleyan Alumnus and as a minister of the United Methodist Church.

Since returning to Donnellson, Richard has been a loyal and active member of Donnellson United Methodist Church - his beloved home church.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents. Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Ruth, two sisters- Margaret B. Gregory and Rosalie J. Bentzinger of Donnellson. Four children, Rebecca Jane Bentzinger of Washington, DC, Sarah Kathryn Clarahan, her husband Rick and son Jacob Daniel of Sgt Bluff, Iowa, John Wesley Bentzinger of Long Island, New York, and Philip Embury and wife Kari Bentzinger, daughter Emma Jane and son Ethan Richard of Lawrence, Kansas. Also a number of nieces and nephews and other family members were a cherished part of his life.

The body has been cremated with burial to be in the Donnell Cemetery in Donnellson, Iowa.

On Sunday, August 29th at 2pm, a brief service, planned by Richard, will be held at the Donnellson United Methodist Church.

Memorials may be given for the United Methodist Committee on Overseas Relief (UMCOR) or the Donnellson United Methodist Church Building Fund.

UMCOR
PO Box 9068,
New York, NY 10087

Donnellson United Methodist Church Building Fund
221 University St.
Donnellson, IA 52625