Col. Peter Whitcomb Bent Obituary

Heritage F.H. Ballantyne, NC

Col. Peter Whitcomb Bent

Salisbury, NC – Colonel Peter Whitcomb Bent (USAF Ret.) passed away peacefully on October 15, 2021 at the age of 87 years.

He will be laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.

Peter was born on October 19th, 1933 in Geneva Illinois to parents Arthur Joseph Bent and Eugenia Scott Bent.

Peter moved frequently as a child due to his fathers engineering career with Westinghouse Electric Corporation. His fondest childhood memories were of the summers he spent with his beloved grandparents, the late Dr. Raymond Scott and Mable Wager Scott. The visit included a trip to the family cabin in the North Woods on the Cisco Chain of Lakes. Peter maintained a lifelong love of the North Woods and all things outdoors.

Peter attended Penn High School in Pittsburgh, P.A, then Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

At Bradley, Peter joined and became President of the Delta Epsilon fraternity. He intended to follow in his grandfathers footsteps and pursue a medical career until his compulsory service in the ROTC program introduced him to Jet planes. Peter quickly established an affinity for Military service and rose to become the Company Commander of Bradley’s ROTC program. Due to his outstanding military potential, he was invited to become the first Cadet Cadre at the United States Air Force Academy. While at the USAFA, he helped to write the mission statement which is still in use today.

Peter went on to pilot training where he had the honor of flying under the command of Lt. Chuck Yeager. He continued an exemplary flying career which included combat in Vietnam and missions to Iran. Peter remained a career Officer and enjoyed worldwide travel and adventures most only dream of. During his career he served in NATO and as Base Commander in RAF Mildenhall in the UK, where he entertained HRH Prince Charles.

After retiring, Peter and his beloved wife Esther built their dream cottage in Bucks County P.A where Peter joined the Lions Club and worked as a Zoning Officer. Always hosting and entertaining, they made lifelong friends wherever they went. Peter was the epitome of an Officer and a Gentleman, known for his easygoing, kind nature and great sense of humor.

Heartfelt thanks to the NC State Veterans Home in Salisbury who provided phenomenal care for Peter as his dementia progressed. Their loving and attentive staff no doubt helped Peter live his best life with dementia. His family will be forever grateful.

Peter was predeceased in death by his wife Esther Graham Bent and sister, Brooke Bent.

Peter is survived by three daughters, Susan Scriver Bent, Cathy Ann Bent, Betsy Bent Broadway, a step-daughter, Maggie Hart, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Arrangements are in the care of Heritage Funeral Home, Ballantyne Chapel. Online condolences may be left at

Posted online on December 12, 2021

Published in The Intelligencer

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