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Jeanne Bentley, 79; Veteran Educator, Counselor in Glendale Schools


Jeanne Bentley, veteran teacher and counselor who spent her purported retirement years as member and president of the Board of Education of Glendale Unified School District, has died. She was 79.

Bentley died Saturday at Verdugo Hills Hospital. No specific cause of death was given.

Even when she was listing her occupation as "homemaker," Bentley was devoted to educating young people. At her death, she remained active in 35 community organizations, including Glendale Healthy Kids and Glendale Youth Coalition, and was in her third term on the Glendale Board of Education. The board also elected her as its representative to the California School Boards Assn.

Born in Long Beach, Bentley was educated in the Glendale schools, she would serve throughout her adult life, then went on to Taft Junior College, UCLA and Cal State L.A. She taught elementary school for three years, before resigning to raise the two daughters she had with her husband, Gerald E. Bentley, who preceded her in death.

There were no paychecks for many years, but Bentley was educating youngsters as a volunteer. She served as Girl Scout leader, board member of Campfire Girls, board member of Parent-Teacher Assns. at three schools, board member and coordinator of youth programs for both the Assistance League and the National Charity League.

When her children went to college, so did she--to earn a master's in counseling. Bentley earned nine state credentials and taught elementary, junior and senior high school and was a counselor in Glendale schools for more than 20 years.

She also developed the Career Guidance and Resource Center for the school district to help students find their futures. The "Career Guidance" course she co-wrote has been emulated by other school districts and is still required in all Glendale schools.

To celebrate her retirement as head counselor for Crescenta Valley High School, Bentley ran for the Board of Education and on April 6, 1993, was the top vote-getter on the five-member panel. She was chosen as clerk, vice president and, from 1995 to 1997, president of the board.

Bentley easily won reelection in 1997 and again in 2001. She dedicated herself to passing school bonds to finance school repairs and reduce class size.

Bentley is survived by her daughters, Robyn Brown of Woodenville, Wash., and Brooke Moore of La Canada Flintridge; a sister, Evelyn Bentley; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at La Canada Presbyterian Church, 626 Foothill Blvd., La Canada Flintridge.

The family has asked that, instead of flowers, memorial donations be sent to the Bentley Family Charitable Trust at the Glendale Community Foundation, P.O. Box 313, Glendale, CA 91209-0313.

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