OBITUARY

Richard Alan Bentley

November 19, 1947May 8, 2019

Richard Alan Bentley, Dairy Queen connoisseur, water polo fanatic, crossword puzzle master, accomplished traveler, amateur King of chess, running enthusiast, and loving father and husband passed away at home on Wednesday, May 8, 2019.

Richard was born among the sunflowers in Omaha, Nebraska to Richard and Janice. It was during this time he realized the California beaches sounded like a much better scene than the corn fields of the midwest. I mean, after all, Richard was the master ocean bodyboarder (although this is still contested by his four competitive children).

Richard moved to California to pursue multiple degrees at California State University at Los Angeles; however, some argue he moved for Woodstock….it was the 70s after all. Regardless of his long blonde hair, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Public Administration, his Masters of Arts in Social Science and his Juris Doctorate, graduating in the top 4% of his class at Whittier College of Law while teaching high school in South Central LA. Richard made sure he secured his education so his future children would have all the opportunities he never had with regards to time, money and education.

To provide his children with many options for education and success, Richard raised them in a loving, caring home in Riverside, CA. Thankfully, he opted to stay in California rather than raising “children of the corn” in Nebraska. He loved education so much that he pushed all his children and their friends to continue their academic journeys far beyond high school.

Richard loved education just as much as he loved his wife. He married Elaina Gambera in 1989, albeit after many failed attempts to win her heart. Together they raised 4 children, Eric (32), Christina (28), Rachael (26) and Robert (24) during their 30 year marriage. Richard taught his children to be strong, competitive and family-oriented. He took extreme pride in them and their accomplishments.

Richard also cherished his younger brother Steven, predeceased wife Geneva and their beautiful daughters, Melanie and Janice. His love extended to his brother-in-law Bobby Gambera, wife Terri and their two beloved children, Kyle and Gianna.

As a former prosecutor with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, he showed unwavering character and compassion for justice and victims of crime for over 25 years, during which he was assigned to the first Homicide Unit and was awarded Prosecutor of the Year, having tried several gang, homicide and death penalty trials.

In addition to his successful career and family, Richard also had a life-long love affair with chocolate donuts, black coffee, eggs, nuts, sourdough bread, curry, le soup and his one 5 o’clock beer each day, which was only ever interrupted by his travels around the world. All his passions and love lives on through his family, friends and everyone who’s had the privilege to meet this extraordinary soul.

A vigil and rosary will be held Wednesday, May 15th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Acheson & Graham Garden of Prayer Mortuary, 7944 Magnolia Ave., Riverside. A Funeral Mass will be held Thursday, May 16th at 10:00 a.m. at St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church, 4268 Lime Street, Riverside. A luncheon will be held following the service at the Riverside Art Museum. In keeping with Richard’s signature style, Hawaiian shirts and cheerful attire is encouraged.

The family will be establishing an annual educational scholarship to honor Richard’s memory. Details will be forthcoming.

Services

  • Vigil Wednesday, May 15, 2019
  • Funeral Mass Thursday, May 16, 2019

Memories

Richard Alan Bentley

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Helios Joe Hernandez

May 15, 2019

Rich,
So sorry to see you go. As fellow DAs, you were a top quality attorney. As a person you were a fine fellow.
Judge Joe Hernandez

Val Graham

May 15, 2019

On Saturday, Elaina, my dear friend of 44 years called me with the news. In between shock, disbelief, anguish I started writing my thoughts down on post-its. Writing this now makes the surreal all too real.

Rich
You were kind, patient, loving. Just as Jesus, your savior, called you to be. You were a man of profound faith and integrity. You cherished your wife and 4 children. You were brilliant and articulate, yet incredibly humble.

For 30 years I enjoyed your quick wit and repartee on worldly subjects. You zip-lined. Kissed elephants. Traveled extensively and embraced other cultures (and food...curry!). You were a true Renaissance man. You laughed at my jokes. You challenged me to hike Mt. Whitney in a day in my mid-forties and never held it against me that I beat your time by 1 hour. ;)

You always gave of your time. You built people up. I called you in December when I was in Kohl's to ask you if I should buy my son, your godson, an electric shaver. You said no. You explained to me how to teach Tom to shave with a razor. From start to finish. Tom and I enjoyed Easter with you, Elaina, and Eric. You spent more than an hour on the computer showing Tom different college campuses that might be a good fit for him next year. We looked at amazing photos on the computer of your travels to Thailand. I so enjoyed sitting at the dinner table and armchair traveling with you and Elaina.

You texted me regularly with updates on your running regimen. You were checking in with me to help me overcome a chronic illness and being bedridden by encouraging me to walk just 5 minutes a day. On your rest days I walked to the mail box and joked I had beaten you that day. On Saturday 3 hours before I heard the news, I walked 9 holes on the golf course with my son near our home. It was the first time in 12 years I had accomplished such a feat. It was hot and humid. My face was beet red. I wanted to cut home at the 4th and 7th holes. I prayed at almost each hole. I felt this push to keep going. I know you were encouraging me from above. Two days later I walked another 9 holes. I promise to honor you and continue walking in faith. Who knows. Maybe soon I'll hike the Santa Rosa Plateau with Elaina like we had planned to do this year.

You were training for the Nanny G.O.A.T. race next weekend. Your goal was 50 miles in 12 hours. Last year you "only" ran 48 miles. On Sunday you texted you were in Mass and needed info on where to meet for the HS CIF golf tournament on Monday. On the morning of Monday May 6th you texted me: 16 miles. You then went to a Rotary meeting and then met me at the golf course to watch your (lefty!) godson Tom compete in the CIF tournament. We sat in the golf cart for almost 3 hours, chatting and catching up on what the loves of your life were accomplishing.

You found joy in each day. I am a better person for having known you. Your passing leaves a gaping wound in our hearts yet you live on in us with every beat of our hearts. I am so proud of your babies. Eric. Christina Bina. Rachael. Robert. Your father was truly an amazing man. How blessed you are to have been loved so deeply. He cheered you on. He taught you how to win with honor and lose with dignity and good sportsmanship. Your dad was The G.O.A.T.=Greatest of All Time. He taught you to love God. To pause, pray and seek Him. To know Him and find peace in Him.

Many would say you were gone too soon. I admit, I was expecting another 20 years of Easter egg hunts, ping pong championships at Thanksgiving and giving glory to God at Christmas. Sage words of advice on raising a teen boy. Help with college applications and essays. And in the end. I am so incredibly grateful to God for the time I was able to spend with you and your loves. I look forward to you greeting me in heaven and bringing me home.

Val

Brian Rich

May 14, 2019

A small part of Richard’s legacy was his contribution to legal education as the Agency instructor at California Southern Law School. He was always there early and the last to leave. He was one of the most genuine human beings you could have the pleasure to meet.

Melissa Donaldson

May 14, 2019

As a new employee to the office, I would go to office and community events where I knew very few people. Richard attended these same events with Elaina and when we were introduced he instantly welcomed me. He made me feel part of the DA family. He also extended that warmth to my husband each and every time we saw him. We spoke of Rotary together and it was apparent he had a servants heart and the determination of a lion. The few years I have known Richard he made a mark on my heart. RIP Richard and a God Bless the entire Bentley Clan.

Bonnie Standing

May 13, 2019

Richard was my dear friend. We met when he was the DA on my friend Michele’s Murder trial. He was always their for me and my family. Our family became close friends. Even know time would pass and we might not see each other. When we did it was always like time stood still and we always started our friendship again. Thank you for being you. I will truly miss you 😢 I am so honored to have such sweet memories of you and your children. You were always so present in their lives. They will keep making you proud. Love you ❤️

Pamela Bentley

May 13, 2019

I'm so sorry for your loss. Nothing I can say will make things better. I do wish we had more contact over the years.

Birte Pfleger

May 13, 2019

Dear Elaina and family

I am so very sorry for your loss. Rich prosecuted the three men responsible for the murder and attempted murder of my parents in 1994. His empathy and hard work as a prosecutor were amazing. He took the time to stay in touch over the years. He always talked about his children and their accomplishments.
The day of his funeral, May 16, will be the 25-year anniversary of my mom's murder. May they meet in the great beyond.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.

John Blakely

May 13, 2019

Always a very pleasant and warm
man. Never saw a frown on his face.
I only knew him through Rotary
but feel like I knew him much longer.
The good Lord above will be welcoming
a true person of faith and good tidings.
My condolences to those he leaves
behind.

Marita Brandl

May 13, 2019

Richard was a wonderful representation of someone who lived life to the fullest. He was passionate about his family. He glowed whenever speaking of his children and Elaina. His pride in their accomplishments was obvious. He was an engaging conversationalist...so many wonderful stories and so little time for us to share. He was an enthusiastic learner of life and an adventurer. Especially this last December when he helped his Mom move and drove through his first Midwest blizzard, seemingly unnerved by the experience. As my cousin, he will be missed. While I wish we could have all been in Nebraska as he would have shook the cornfields up a bit, he was a golden California boy at heart. I am so sorry for your loss. Blessings and Love from the Nebraska cousins and their families.

Tom Hunt

May 13, 2019

Elaina & family, our prayers include you each and all today. We only just now learned of Richard's sudden passing which shocked and saddened us each. I always remember an even-keeled Dad on the pool deck, maybe caught up as were the rest of us with what we all saw as a bad call yet never in the drama and always focused on showing us that this was a fleeting time with our children and to enjoy this with one another.
Richard was a solid fellow, reliable and very intelligent.
May his lessons and more so his love for his family be steadfast for you all during and beyond this difficult time.

FROM THE FAMILY