Bentley “Coach” Eugene Wallis
Bentley “Coach” Eugene Wallis, 92, of Rogers died Monday, September 11, 2023 at Mercy Hospital in Rogers. He was born the son of Vinita Clarice Williams and Artimus Eugene Wallis on January 23, 1931, in Pea Ridge, Arkansas.
In 1936 his family headed from Arkansas to Southern California in a Model T Ford Truck. A very long drive in those days. He grew up in Coachella in Coachella Valley, California until 1939 when the family moved to Thermal California. He talked about his growing up in the dessert often with fond memories working as a fruit inspector and Lineman when they used ropes and spikes to climb poles.
Bentley attended Jr college for 2 years and then joined the Marine Corp where he served in telecommunications Sergeant in the Korean War from 1950 to 1954 and was honorably discharged.
After serving in the military, he earned several degrees while attending Redlands University in Southern California. He was on the football team as a running back and loved singing in the men’s choir. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 1958.
Bentley then attended seminary school for 2 years. He decided after those 2 years, seminary was not his calling and wanted to teach. He started his teaching career in Beaumont California. After a couple of years, he started teaching at Monterey California teaching history and psychology while coaching football, track, basketball, and baseball. Football turned out to be his passion hence the nickname “Coach”. His lifetime football record was 144 wins, 37 losses, and 5 ties. Quite a record for someone who didn’t even know he wanted to be a football coach when he started his teaching career.
While he was teaching and coaching in Monterey California, he made lifelong friends with teachers, coaches, students, and parents.
He was always busy with side jobs, real estate, getting his pilot’s license, and traveling with his best friends who were soon to be known as the Flat Head 5. Some of his best stories where hearing of their adventures.
Bentley retired from teaching in 1989 and moved back to Arkansas with his daughter and grandsons. He came out of retirement doing various things; selling insurance, substitute teaching, doing state testing for the school system and took up bowling where he joined leagues and was making more lifelong friends. He loved bowing so much that he quit all the teaching gigs and started working at the Rogers Bowling center where he retired again after 25 years.
After his 2nd retirement, he slowed down a bit, while doing oil painting. He was a very good landscape and water painter. He continued painting until the last year of his life.
He also was invited into the Quiet Bird Men. The Quiet Birdmen is a secretive club in the United States for male aviators founded in 1921 by World War 1 pilots. Coach was invited to join where he was a member for life and served as Governor for years along with several other positions. After giving up his positions, he kept attending monthly meetings as long as he could and again, made more lifelong friends.
In the last year of his life, he slowed down even more, and his sister Carol was able to move in and help him. Providing him much needed companionship and cooking for him everyday 😊. They were able to grow their relationship and Bentley was very happy to have her there with him.
As he turned 92, his body was tired and not listening to his brain. He was frustrated and very weak. We admitted him to the Hospital where he was to start therapy to get stronger so he could get back home however, the Good Lord had different plans and his heart stopped while he was getting a bath the day before therapy was to start. In the words of his wonderful ICU nurse “he had a beautiful life”.
For those of you who knew him – THANK YOU FOR THE LOVE. He treasured all the relationships he had. He was very proud of all his accomplishments in life.
Coach was preceded in death by his parents, sister Mary Jo Margaret Wallis, Brothers Guy William Wallis and James Hugh Wallis.
He is survived by one sister, Vinita Carol Wallis Bennett of the home, his only child, daughter Tami and husband Brooks, grandchildren, Ryan and wife Jessica, Roth and wife Christina, & Isaac along with great grandchildren that he adored: Bentley & Maverick, Savannah, Matthew & Carter. He also had extended Montgomery family.
Other than a family service, no other memorial service is planned.
In lieu of flowers, please feel free to make a donation to the Quiet Birdmen in Bella Vista or a donation to the Redlands University in California at www.redlands.edu/eofy23