10 Things ABOUT: Kechia Wilson Bentley

Photo by Liz Chrisman

Age: 57
Hometown: Leachville, Arkansas and Largo, Florida
Years in the river valley : 31
Occupation: Operator of ACT Answers, ACT test prep
Family: Husband Donald Bentley, married 36 years. Children Adrin, Austin, Dillon, and Payton Bentley

1. What is your favorite book?

Bible and Gone with the Wind. The Bible is my go to book. It is life to me. I know that may sound really weird to some people, but those who know me know it is true. I cannot imagine my life without all that God’s Holy Word has taught me about Him, about me, about others, and about how to live this life. The Bible has cradled me with God’s presence and power through the darkest of nights and has given me the greatest words of rejoicing and praise. When I tell you that I would be undone without it, I am not exaggerating.

Gone with the Wind is the first novel I ever read. I was in 6th grade. I don’t even remember where I got my copy, but I remember sitting in the tree in our front yard and reading it for hours. One of my fondest memories was going to see the movie with my parents in 1974. They had many discussions about whether they should take me, since I was only 11. I walked out of that theater knowing the book is always better than the movie.

2. Dog or Cat?

I grew up with a dog and a cat in our home. If you nailed me down and made me choose only one, I would go with dog. Our last dogs were border collies, and you could not ask for more loving or loyal dogs. They absolutely had my heart. I would sit up all night and hold one of them because she was so terribly frightened by thunderstorms.

3. What do you think is the most positive aspect of living in the River Valley?
It has to be the people. I have been privileged to be involved with several civic and volunteer organizations here in the River Valley. I am a life time member of Junior Auxiliary. I currently serve on the board of Russ Buss, and I serve on a national board and a local committee associated with St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center. I have met some of the most amazing, generous, selfless people in this area. It is truly astounding how giving and caring our community is to those in need.

4. What is something no one would ever guess about you?
I was engaged to be married three times by the age of 20. I broke off the first two and returned the rings. The third proposal was from Donald, and I always say the third time was definitely the charm.

5. What is your favorite music genre and artist?
Christian music is what I listen to everyday. My favorite artists are Micheal Card and Fernando Ortega. Both of these artist use scripture or a biblical story as the basis for their lyrics. They remind me of the truths on which I base my life.

6. What do you nerd out on?
I love to draw house plans. It will consume my whole day. I have been known to stay up till dawn working on a plan. The house we live in now was built from a house plan I drew.

Also, if we are taking a trip, I will research everything about the area before we go — it is an obsession.

7. If you could change one thing about the River Valley, what would it be?
I would undo the possibility of a casino coming to our area.

8. Where is the one location in the River Valley you would tell a first-time visitor that they must go?
I would send them to any of our state parks. We love to camp and be outdoors. The natural beauty in our area is abundant.

9. Pizza, tacos, cheeseburger, or fried chicken?
Fried Chicken! Besides the fact that it is awesome, it holds all the memories: holidays, summers, picnics, funerals, my mother, and my grandmothers. Fried chicken just encompasses a life well lived in the South.

10. What is your favorite quote? Could be from an inspiration person, could be an original.
“There is so much bad in the best of us, and so much good in the worst of us. It hardly behooves any of us, to speak ill of the rest of us.”

This is the Motto of The Order of the Owls. It was on a plaque that hung in my grandparents’ home. The plaque belonged to my great-grandfather Henry Bohannon. It always reminds me that we are all “those people” whom we often like to pretend we are not.​