"She had a very privileged childhood, the country-club life growing up," he said. But after divorcing in her 40s, she sought a different life.
She helped a friend who ran a restaurant, 21 West, in Chestnut Hill and then graduated from the Restaurant School.
And she seemed to learn along the way.
In 1991, Inquirer reporter Pauline Bogaert wrote:
"Greenhouse Restaurant chef David Christopher Wetz gets a lot of compliments on his new-style mashed potatoes, as well as the poached breast of chicken and Savoy cabbage in a parsnip sauce with caraway-flecked dumplings.
"The charcoal-grilled sea scallops with couscous in a roasted tomato sauce and the swordfish with melted onions flavored with fresh thyme served with grilled polenta are winners, too."
With entrees such as those, Bogaert wrote, the Greenhouse was among a dozen Main Line restaurants that had enrolled in the Winner's Choice program, which promoted healthful dining.
"I was just totally aware that our menu needed to be lightened up," Mrs. Bentley told the reporter.
Her son said that she was one of the 16 founders of the Philadelphia chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier.
Born in Philadelphia, Mrs. Bentley graduated from the Baldwin School in 1943 and, after her service in the Marines, studied briefly at the University of Arizona.
Her son said she joined the Marine Corps because her brother had died while training to become a pilot.
In the 1960s, he said, her golfing ability made her a club champion at Bald Peak Colony Club in Moutonborough, N.H., for several seasons.
She was on winning teams at the Merion Golf Club when the club played other private clubs, he said.
A competitive sailor since she was 9, she recently won the season series in the bull's-eye class at the Tarratine Club in Dark Harbor, Maine, he said.
Besides son James, Mrs. Bentley is survived by a son, Thomas; a daughter, Stacey Bentley; four grandchildren; and her longtime companion, Patricia West. Her husband, James A., died in 1995.
A memorial service was set for 11 a.m. Friday, April 13, at St. David's Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd., Wayne. A private graveside service was held Tuesday, April 3.
Contact Walter F. Naedele
at 215-854-5607 or email@example.com.