Frank Hawthorne Bentz

October 15, 1930December 31, 2018

Frank Hawthorne Bentz October 15, 1930 – December 31, 2018 INDIANAPOLIS, IN – A child of the Great Depression (but never poor in spirit!), Frank was born on October 15, 1930 in Clawson, Michigan, to Seward Huntington Bentz and Regina (Rohrman) Bentz. The “baby brother” to five siblings (Bob, Rich, Carol, Elaine and Stu), he earned the moniker of “favorite uncle” to several nieces and nephews who sought out and were influenced by what they saw as his playful, loving and thoughtful nature. They remember him as “providing solace, laughter, perspective” and as “spreading hope, wisdom and insight.” He was often their rock of dependable support. Family was Frank’s most valued and cherished asset. He and his first love, Melba (Ehm) Bentz were the proud and loving parents of three children: Deb (Mark) Gervais; Craig (Kristine) Bentz; Denise (Derrick) Disney. He was blessed with six grandchildren and one great granddaughter: Dr. Josh (Morgan) Bell; Jake Bell; Kali Disney, Dr. Cameron Bentz; Corbin Bentz; Matt (Cherri) Gervais; Rachel (Dan) Commerford; and Hannah Commerford. When Frank married Jody Peloza Bowman in 1994, he embraced stepson Blake A. Bowman in whose life he played an integral part. Frank left a deeply embedded, loving legacy as a man of integrity, father, mentor, spiritual guide, character builder and all-around role model. Frank served in the U.S. Army in post-WWII France decommissioning American war materiel. Frank was driven by a tireless work ethic whether focusing on: home-related projects; using the masonry skills taught to him by his father to establish the Bentz Chimney Company which supported his young and growing family and paid his way through college and grad school; or co-founding Bentz Whaley Flessner (BWF), an internationally known fundraising and consulting firm headquartered in Minneapolis. During his tenure at BWF, Frank worked with colleges, universities, medical centers and other non-profit organizations to identify and launch successful philanthropic strategies. He was particularly proud of BWF’s leadership and his personal involvement with Lee Iacocca to secure donors for the national campaign to renovate and preserve the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In “retirement” Frank was recruited by St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis (national flagship of the then Daughters of Charity Health System, now Ascension Health) to revitalize the Hospital Foundation. Under his energetic leadership, the Foundation created innovative philanthropic programs that targeted mission-driven priorities of the Hospital. Frank’s persuasive and personal approach to prospective donors and his dedication to relationship- building established a diversified, generous and loyal donor base. His achievements over the years did not go unrecognized, as he was frequently lauded with public awards from mayors, governors, corporate executives, academic leaders, fellow fundraising colleagues and professional organizations. Not surprisingly, an abiding faith in God centered Frank and defined his life, both personal and professional. He was a spiritual advocate in his home and workplace, as well as an active participant and leader in churches in Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana, his last affiliation being with St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. His faith defined and extended to his love of nature to which he was drawn. Among other sites, he considered The Boundary Waters, the mountains and streams of Colorado and Lake Michigan as his churches in the wild. A gathering to celebrate Frank’s life is scheduled on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at 1:00 p.m. at Feeney Hornak Shadeland Mortuary, 1307 North Shadeland Ave., Indianapolis; IN. Special and grateful blessings are due Dr. Robert H. Love and Dr. Stephen Knaus who not only cared for Frank, but also cared about him. Also, thank you to the staffs of Willow Lake Place, MyMoble MD and Harbor Light Hospice, both of Indianapolis. Do a random act of kindness in Frank’s honor and / or consider a contribution to his favorite charity: St. Vincent Hospital Foundation, 8402 Harcourt Road, Suite 210, Indianapolis, IN 46260. Memories can be posted at


27 April

Celebration of Life

Feeney-Hornak Shadeland Mortuary

1307 N Shadeland Ave
Indianapolis, Indiana 46219


Frank Hawthorne Bentz

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January 15, 2019

As I was growing up in the midst of great turmoil, Uncle Frank reached out to me in a number of ways, providing solace, perspective, even laughter through the pain. He helped me find a way through the darkness and was instrumental in making sure I got a good education and was connected to the help that I needed.
On a lighter note, Uncle Frank was a goof! I remember his sticking a carrot in each nostril and playing an "air guitar" while shaking the hair he didn't have, giving his impression of the rock stars of the day from the British invasion.
Thank you, Uncle Frank, for your deep, playful but thoughtful spirit and all the good you did in the world, spreading hope, wisdom, and laughter.

Michael Wygmans

January 3, 2019

Uncle Frank was such a loving and fatherly influence in my life, giving comfort and family when I needed it most. He could always lighten the day with his great playful nature. When we moved back to Michigan from Texas, he was there to help. He was driving a convertible sports car and was getting sun burned, not having a hat. He tied a very colorful scarf on his head he borrowed from my mom, Elaine, and away we went down the highway with that great smile of his and colorful scarf streaming in the breeze. I believe he made sure to wave at everyone on the road. He was the show that day! He made a long trip most enjoyable.