Remembering Don Bently |

Remembering Don Bently

by Amy Roby

Sarah Hall/R-C file photosDon Bently at the opening of the Biodiesel station.

Over the last several weeks, much has been written about Donald E. Bently’s considerable influence, innumerable contributions and unbending commitment to the Carson Valley. I felt a significant shift and palpable loss when this gentleman’s remarkable life came to an end on Oct. 1, 2012.

Were it not for Mr. Bently, I never would have come to know this glorious place. Eighteen years ago as newlyweds, my husband, Scott, and I moved to Gardnerville when he took a programming job with Bently Nevada Corp. We settled into our home in the Ranchos one snowy October weekend, and I remember looking west toward the mountain range, full of gratitude that we’d come to live in such a beautifully breathtaking area.

Through Bently Nevada, we met other young individuals, couples and families and cultivated a wonderful, close-knit group of friends. Years passed as we witnessed weddings, celebrated births, watched children start school, and continued to marvel at our good fortune. The company was the magnet that drew many of us here, and that commonality connected us to the Valley and each other.

Even after Bently Nevada Corp. was purchased by General Electric in 2002, Mr. Bently remained a prominent presence. There were many times I thought of him: enjoying the sunshine during events at the Bently Science Park, seeing Agrowdynamics trucks motoring through town, driving past his residence along Highway 395.

Several years ago, I wrote a column about his solar laundry facility on Kimmerling Road.

I phoned the Bently offices for some information and was floored when his administrative assistant put my call directly through to the owner himself.

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He was engaging and gracious throughout our 20-minute conversation, and I ended up with more than enough information for the piece. This was a visionary man passionate about all aspects of his businesses, interests and endeavors.

One can never fully know the ripple effect of decisions made and actions taken in this lifetime. It’s hard to imagine the road I have traveled without considering the indirect influence of Mr. Bently.

Without him, Scott and I likely never would have moved here. I never would have met all the remarkable, beloved people in this community who have weaved their way through my life and my heart. I never would have known the joy and ritual of our hometown parades. I never would have experienced the unabashed magnificence of the Carson Valley sky. And I certainly never would have put in for a job as a columnist at The Record-Courier.

I’ve lived many different places in my years, but the Carson Valley is my home. For that and for many other things, Mr. Bently, I thank you.

Amy Roby can be reached at

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