Patricia J. Bentz

Patricia J. Bentz, 97 of Lake Kiwassa, Saranac Lake, died Dec. 8, 2018 at Elizabethtown Community Hospital.

Born in Walla Walla, Washington, she was the daughter of Thomas and Lola Wilson.

Pat’s mother was widowed when she was 8, and they moved to San Francisco in 1929 to join her mother’s Irish relatives. She fell in love with San Francisco, a city that nourished her love of books, arts, and fashion. She attended convent school and at her insistence was given permission to attend public school graduating Galileo High School. After working in the San Francisco financial district as a secretary, she was recruited by the U.S. Army in 1942 as a civilian employee to work in the Army’s Pacific Command Underground Operations center at Ft. Shafer, Hawaii. Pat married U.S. Air Force officer John B. Holt, and, after the war, was stationed with him at Albany, Georgia, where their son Thomas B. Holt was born in 1946. Following her divorce in 1953, Pat moved to Washington, D.C. where she was employed at the Pentagon as an Executive Assistant to one of the Assistant Secretaries of the Department of Air Force. In 1964, she met and married Lt. Col. Harold F. Bentz.

Pat remained in Washington, D.C., while Lt. Col. Bentz served a year in Vietnam. She then accompanied him to Okinawa, Japan, Hawaii and back to Washington, D.C. before his retirement in 1976. They then returned to Saranac Lake, where Brick grew up and built their retirement home on Lake Kiwassa. She fell in love with the glorious Adirondacks and lived the second half of her life there.

Life in the Adirondacks allowed her to pursue her love of physical activities like skiing, canoeing, hiking and bicycling and especially golf. While in Okinawa, Pat had been an Army Ladies Golf Club champion. She also continued throughout her life to find enormous fulfillment in her creative interests, sewing/designing her own clothes, knitting and entertaining. Several times during her life, she had been recruited to model unprofessionally. After moving to Saranac Lake, she began studying painting and became a talented artist in watercolor and ink drawing. She became an active member of Saranac Lake Paint and Pallet, presenting her art at shows and serving on its board. Some of Pat’s paintings can be seen at the Saranac Lake Free Library.

Pat loved the trips that she and Brick would make to New York City, where they would shop, go to plays, museums, and galleries, and have dinner at Grand Central Station. She volunteered with the Saranac Lake Free Library for over 20 years, the Village Improvement Society, where she was co-chairman of the Vest Pocket Park for a number of years, and delivering for the Meals on Wheels Program.

In February 2011, following the death of her husband, Col. Harold Bentz, she moved to the Neighborhood House in Keene Valley, where she lived until her death. Irascible yet immensely charming, she was loved by the staff who took wonderful care of her.

Patricia is survived by her son, Thomas B. Holt of San Francisco.

Funeral arrangements are in care of the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake. Services will be private at West Point Military Academy at a later date.

Family and friends wishing to remember Patricia Bentz may make memorial contributions to the Saranac Lake Free Library in care of the funeral home and sign the online guestbook at fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com.