Wallar Virginia Bentley

Wallar Virginia Bentley passed away on May 14, 2023 at the age of 86. She was born on March 24, 1937 to Idelia and Elbert Simpson in Augusta, GA.

Affectionately known as Virginia or Gin, for short; spent her childhood helping her family at the iconic Red Star Cafe’ (formerly known as the Palace Theater) in Augusta, Georgia. This unique establishment hosted some of the most famous African American actors, singers and socialites of that time. A bed and breakfast where blacks could dine and comfortably stay, with dignity, in the heavily segregated south. Gin spoke often of rubbing shoulders with James Brown and Ray Charles!

Gin met John Bentley in 1950; nuptials quickly followed and to this union, four children were born: John Jr., Janet (Gracie), LaVerne and Julie.

Gin insisted that they needed to relocate their family to the north, so like many other African Americans during this time, they took part in the Great Migration and relocated to Detroit, Michigan. Gin was extremely proud to help take care of her family and worked for many years at Robichaud High School in Dearborn Heights, Michigan where she eventually retired with full benefits.

Gin enjoyed spending time with family, watching Jeopardy, The Hawk and she loved playing Pokeno, too! She could also really cut a rug if you played her favorite tune!

The legacy of her memory includes a son who preceded her in death, John D. Bentley Jr. and his 6 children, three daughters: Janet (Gracie) Hector and her son, LaVerne Odum and her 4 children and their children and Julie Spann (Damon) and their 2 children. Two sisters, Brenda Melvin of North Carolina and Marlene Roberson of Georgia and a host of relatives and friends.

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