Ray Bentdahl

Ray Bentdahl passed away peacefully April 2, 2012, from respiratory failure cased by pulmonary fibrosis. Bentdahl was a resident of Scottsdale and also maintained a home in Edina, Minn., with his wife of 53 years, Shirley. He was born Sept. 19, 1937, and raised on the family farm near Hanska, Minn.


Bentdahl graduated from New Ulm High School in 1955 and Luther College in 1959, and he was a recipient of the Luther College Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009.


He began a 44-year career in commercial banking in 1963 at the Rushford State Bank in southern Minnesota. At age 29, he acquired the Commercial State Bank of Hokah, Minn. Through the 1970s and 1980s he went on to acquire a total of 12 bank locations in various southern Minnesota communities. In 1974, he developed a residential subdivision named Fox Chase Road near Hokah, Minn.


In 1977, the Bentdahl family moved to Edina, Minn., and in 1978 he acquired the Americana State Bank of Edina. In the 1980s and early 1990s, he sold the southern Minnesota bank locations to focus on growing Americana Bank in the Twin Cities. In 2002, the bank name was changed to Excel Bank. In 2007, Excel merged with Milwaukee-based M & I Bank.


Bentdahl served as chairman of several boards, including the Luther College Board of Regents, the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation and Excel Bank Corp. He was a member of several organizations, including the Minnesota Bankers Association, Rotary Club and the Minneapolis Club.


He was a generous philanthropist and active fundraiser for many charitable causes. He was also an avid motorcycling and sports car enthusiast, and he spent many joyous hours behind the wheel at various racetracks driving a Porsche or Ferrari, or driving his Harley Davidson to the four corners of the USA (11,000 miles in 18 days). His greatest joy was spending time with his family and many, many friends. 

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