Helen Delich Bentley

(1923 - 2016)

Helen Delich Bentley is the President and CEO of Helen Bentley & Associates, Inc., which provides marketing, consulting and government relations services, and also serves as a consultant to the Maryland Port Administration.

As Chairman of Federal Maritime Commission from 1969-1975, she was then the fourth-highest ranking woman in Federal government history. In 1985 she was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives representing Maryland's Second Congressional District, where she served until 1995.

From 1945 until 1969 she was a reporter and then maritime editor for The Baltimore Sun, where her coverage made her an opinion leader on international maritime issues. In 1950 she also moved into television. For 15 years, as she turned out weekly 30 minute segments, Bentley produced, directed, edited, wrote and did interviews for her series, "The Port That Built a City," and, later, "The Port That Built a City - and State." Throughout her career, Bentley has tirelessly promoted three primary issues - the advancement of America's maritime community, America's industrial/manufacturing base, and her beloved Port of Baltimore.

In June, 2006, Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. announced he had officially renamed the Port as The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore. "There has been no one," said Ehrlich in making the announcement, "who has championed the vital role the Port plays in both the global economy and our everyday lives more than Helen."

Born in Ruth, Nevada, Bentley graduated from the University of Missouri in 1944, and has been awarded 10 honorary doctorates.

She has received numerous national and international honors, including the Admiral of the Ocean Sea (AOTOS) Award in 1981, the Governor's International Leadership Award in 2006, International Maritime Hall of Fame 2004, the Jerry Land Medal of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers in 1974, the U.S. Navy League's Robert Thompson Award in 1973, the United Kingdom's Chamber of Shipping in 1973 and the U.S. Propeller Club's Congressional in 1987 and its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008. She also received Industrialist of the Year from the Baltimore Museum of Industry 2010. Bentley has christened 17 American flag ships, five of which she named simultaneously at the Sparrows Point Shipyard in 1987.

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2013.

© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2013