by Max Brantley
An estate gift from a longtime supporter totaling nearly $2 million has been received by the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).
Martha Wood Bentley, a dedicated supporter of the Jones Eye Institute who died Sept. 18, 2007, left her estate to the institution where she served for more than a decade on its advisory board.
“She was a very loyal supporter and friend of the Jones Eye Institute,” said John Shock, director of the Jones Eye Institute. “Her support over the years has helped mold JEI into the state-of-the-art comprehensive eye treatment and research facility it is today.”
Bentley was a silent philanthropist who was known for a keen sense of humor, a quick wit and great strength of character. She was a graduate of Briarcliff College and Stanford University. She was past president of the Fort Smith Junior League, a member of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, a member of the Association of the United Daughters of the Confederacy and an honorary member of the Van Buren Literary Club. She was a lifelong member of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Fort Smith.
“She shared a wonderful relationship with Dr. Shock and the Jones Eye Institute that has ultimately benefited the quality of patient care, research and education that we deliver at UAMS,” said Debra H. Fiser, M.D., dean of the UAMS College of Medicine. “We are grateful for Mrs. Bentley’s contributions and strong support.”
The Martha Wood Bentley Chair in Ophthalmology was established in April 2009 with a generous donation from Martha Bentley to support research, education and patient care.
“A gift such as this speaks volumes about Dr. Shock and the quality of work that is done at the Jones Eye Institute,” said UAMS Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D. “For patients like Mrs. Bentley to go on to serve and loyally support an institution like she’s done in this case is a rare find. We’re extremely grateful and honored.”