Friends and family remember missionary


By Alyssa Call

BYU friends are mourning the loss of fellow student, missionary, elementary education major, daughter and sister Vanessa Ann Bentley.

Bentley, who was serving an LDS mission in upstate New York, died after a car accident on Aug. 30.

Tuesday, to honor Bentley, BYU lowered the United States flag outside of the Abraham Smoot Building to half-staff. Funeral services were Tuesday in Tucson, Ariz.

Bentley had a unique personality, according to her close friend Angela Rowberry.

[media-credit name=”Courtesy of Angela Rowberry” align=”alignleft” width=”249″][/media-credit]
Vanessa Bentley
“She loved eating chips, she always had her fingernails painted pretty colors and was close to her family,” Rowberry said.




While Bentley was on her mission, her sister Jen, a nail technician, learned how to do nail art. Bentley wrote to her sister that when she got home she wanted her sister to paint zebra stripes on her nails. At the funeral service, Bentley and her sisters all had zebra print nails.

Writing on her profile, Bentley said, “It is so exciting to be able to share with the people of New York the thing that has made me the most happy in life — the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Rowberry talked about Bentley’s decision to serve a mission.

“She was nervous to go on her mission and knew it would be hard,” she said. “[But] she knew her family would be blessed.”

Rowberry said Bentley’s decision to serve was not easy and it took her a long time to decide. But when she did, Bentley knew her decision to serve was right and she knew it was what she wanted to do.

Rowberry said she has learned much from her experience and friendship with Bently.

“I’ve learned that we need to make sure that the things we spend time on in this life are important because every moment she spent was all done out of love for other people,” Rowberry said.

As an elementary education major, Bentley would practice reading stories and recruit people to perform dances while she called out instructions, Rowberry said.

“She had a knack for reading people and was never one to shy away from discussion or clarification,” wrote close friend, Chase Larson, in a blog post. “I admired that.”

Many have joined the Facebook group in support of Bentley, to share memories of her and to support each other.

“Vanessa’s real legacy and memory will be the effect she had on her friends, family and everyone else she came into contact with in her young life,” Larson wrote. “Her legacy will be her warmth and her kindness. The way her clearly apparent happiness seemed to be contagious.”


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