NEWFIELD, NJ, USA U.S. Army PFC, COMPANY B, 1ST BATTALION, 64TH ARMOR, FORT STEWART, GA BAGHDAD, IRAQ 06/20/2007
Army Private First Class David J. Bentz III was remembered by friends and family as a courteous, sweet man who knew how to put his dedication where it counted.
Bentz, 20, of Newfield, N.J., was killed June 20, 2007, in Baghdad when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb. Bentz had been in Iraq six weeks. “To me, it seemed like he enjoyed being there,” said his uncle, Robert Bentz. “He was proud he was doing something for his country.”
“He wasn’t rambunctious,” said Daniel Antonelli, his assistant principal and soccer coach. “He was on the quiet side. But out there on the field, he was tenacious. He’d get all over the place. I know he would have fought for his country the same way.”
Known for his big smile and determination, Bentz graduated from Clayton High School in 2004, where he had played soccer for four years. He had been delivering pizzas before enlisting in the Army.
Standing only 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighing about 130 pounds in high school, Bentz was one of the smallest kids on the field, Clayton High School Athletic Director Dan Antonelli recalled. “He made up for all the rest in heart out there,” Antonelli said. The two were next-door neighbors for several years in Clayton.
“He was a very determined little guy who always had a smile on his face,”
Antonelli said. “I’m just shocked right now.
Bentz studied law enforcement while in high school, and grew up very much the protector of his two younger sisters, Gabrielle Bentz and Brianna Butterworth. “He was like a big daddy,” said Kimberly Geonnotti, his stepmother.
The David J. Bentz III Scholarship Fund was established by the family to help a graduating student/athlete attend college. “We are intent on keeping the message of DJ alive by fighting for those less fortunate. By exhibiting the same values and characteristics that our beloved DJ had, we are confident that each and every recipient will produce a positive path paved by the values they have cultivated and emulated.”
He also is survived by his father, David Bentz Jr.; his birth mother, Lena Butterworth; and Bernadette Bentz, known as his third mother.