William Carey Bentley Jr.

November 15, 1919 ~ December 24, 2019 (age 100)


William Carey Bentley, Jr., a veteran of World War II, died peacefully, with members of his family at his side, on December 24, 2019, six weeks after his 100th birthday. 

Known to all as Carey, he was born on November 15, 1919 in Birmingham, Alabama.  He studied Mechanical Engineering at Auburn University, where he participated in the ROTC program. 

On graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  Originally assigned to the Corps of Engineers, he was soon transferred to the Ordnance Department in support of the war in Europe.  After several training assignments, he was deployed to England, arriving the day after the D-Day invasion.  A month later he was assigned to General Patton’s army and his unit raced from Normandy to catch up with Patton’s march across France.  He also served in Belgium and Holland and supported troops at the Battle of the Bulge.  He returned to the U.S. in January 1946.  After discharge from the Army, he joined the U.S. Army Reserve, eventually retiring at the rank of Major. 

He began his civilian career as a foundry engineer, working first in Birmingham and then in Chattanooga, where he rose to Assistant Plant Manager of the U.S. Pipe and Foundry Company’s high-pressure valve plant.  In Chattanooga, he and his wife, Billie, the former Ina Mae Harrell, of Birmingham, reared three sons, living in the East Brainerd area.  Carey was a member of the Brainerd Baptist Church, an Assistant Scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts of America, and a Master Gardener.  After retirement, Carey and Billie moved to Magnolia Springs, Alabama, where Carey kept his Professional Engineering credentials current for several years as he participated in volunteer activities with Habitat for Humanity and Weeks Bay Foundation.  In late 2016, the couple moved back to Chattanooga.

Carey is survived by his wife of 71 years and two sons, Murry (Linda Clark), of Baltimore; and Larry (Caroline Caulkins Bentley), of Lookout Mountain.  His first son, Jerry (Carol Mon Lee, of Honolulu), died in 2012.  His only sibling, Elizabeth Bentley Howard, of Birmingham, died at age 94, also on December 24, 2019.  Other surviving relatives include two nieces and a nephew and numerous grand and great-grand nieces and nephews.

Interment with military honors will take place at the Chattanooga National Cemetery after a private family ceremony.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to the “Carey and Billie Bentley Magnolia River Conservation Fund” at the Weeks Bay Foundation (online: or by mail: Weeks Bay Foundation, 11401 U.S. Hwy 98, Fairhope, AL, 36532).

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Arrangements by Heritage Funeral Home, 7454 E. Brainerd Rd.

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