Obit: Bender, Richard C. (1929 – 2017)


Surnames: Bender, Walker, Stendel, Craig, Bingham, Becker, Elmhorst, Lepak, Roman

Source: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, WI) 07 APR 2017

Bender, Richard C. (7 APR 1929 – 14 APR 2017)

Richard Craig Bender (Dick) of Neillsville, WI passed away peacefully at his home on September 14, 2016 at the age of 87.

He was born Craig Richard Bender on April 7, 1929 in Almena, WI. He was the first child of Harold Otto Bender and Mary Frances (Craig) Bender. Although he was born Craig Richard Bender his family always referred to him as Richard so that was the name he used throughout his life. Richard's paternal family was from Germany and his maternal family from Ireland. His mother was confined to the Pinehurst Tuberculosis Sanitarium in Janesville WI for nine years when Richard was a young child. His paternal grandparents helped raise him. Richard graduated from Spooner High School in 1948 and married Benita Walker of Rice Lake WI on May 20, 1950. Richard and Benita had two children. Richard Benjamin Bender and Dianne Marie Bender. He was a Korean War Veteran serving his country as the chief cook from 1951-1953 for his company. Richard had many different careers during his lifetime and knew the value of a dollar. He set pins at a local bowling alley while he attended Barron County Normal School to became a school teacher. Richard also worked at his father's sawmill in Solon Springs WI, helped his father with novelty stands at county fairs, owned an operated a tavern in Warrens WI called Paradise Inn, went to barber school, and worked for American Motors in Kenosha. His wife Benita unfortunately passed away November 23, 1962. During the second chapter of his life, Richard was devoted to his life partner Loretta Stendel and father to their two children Craig Alan Bender and Jennifer Lynn Bender. Richard was always "wheeling and dealing", buying and selling cars and real estate. He loved to make a quick buck. Richard took great pride in being a top sales agent for Combined Insurance during the 70's and he also worked at Nelson Muffler in Neillsville. Richard was a smart and caring man. Always lending a hand to those in need. He often got the short end of the stick by doing so but that did not stop him. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, billiards, bowling, playing cards and watching television, especially westerns, game shows, and his favorite sports teams the Packers and the Cubs.

He will be greatly missed by his family. Richard was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents William and Bertha (Bingham) Craig and his paternal grandparents Richard and Wilhelmina aka Minnie ( Becker) Bender. Also preceding him are his parents Harold and Mary (Craig) Bender, his wife Benita and his partner Loretta Stendel, a son-in-law Chuck Norwood, a brother in law Arlyn Ritter, as well and many friends and family who went before him. Richard leaves behind one sibling Patricia (Bender) Ritter of Granton WI, his son Richard B. Bender and his wife Christie of Elroy WI and their children Benjamin and Melissa Bender along with Ben's son and Richard's great grandson Tyler Bender. Richard is also survived by his daughters Dianne (Bender) Norwood of Cedar Lake IN and Jennifer (Bender) Elmhorst and her husband Earl of Neillsville WI along with their children Amanda, Cody, Tanner, Skyler and Summer Elmhorst. He also leaves behind his youngest son Craig A. Bender of Neillsville WI and his children Destiny, Alysa, and Alexis Bender, Alex Roman, and Carly Lepak.

My Dad by Jennifer Elmhorst

My dad was a man that was easy to adore

Always content having less so he could give more

Very handsome and strong, he looked like Jackie Gleason

Giving love and support no matter the season

Scarlet fever as a child made him quite sick

Many friends and family knew him as "Dick"

He was strong and smart, the determination to win

The smell of a stogie will forever remind me of him

Anxious to play cards after each holiday

Baseball and Roll Em were his favorite games to play

In his shirt pocket always a pen and a comb

28 Court Street in Neillsville was home sweet home

Born during the depression, life was not easy

A special place in his heart for those who were needy

Dad had many careers and adventures in life

A teacher, salesman, barber, and husband to his wife.

He was a father in the 1950's and the 70's too

Had a second chapter in his life like so many of us do

Dad loved his kids all the same, that much is true

His hair was wavy brown and his eyes ocean blue

He always gave me a hug before going to bed

And the words "I love you" still ring in my head

He proudly served our country in the Korean War

The head cook in charge of feeding our wounded and sore

Dad could not resist trying to get a good deal

"Offer can always go up!" was a very familiar spiel

Western movies and game shows on the tv screen

While slowly puffing his old pipe to relax in the evening

The Packers and Cubs were his favorites no doubt

He would sing with Harry Carey before the first ball was thrown out

Take me out to the ballgame, take me out to the crowd

Dad would sing to the television in his happy voice and so proud

Hey Dad your Cubbies made it to the World Series this year!

You had the best seat in the house, and we could not hold back the tears

"Just like downtown Chicago" I would often hear my dad say

When we made it home safely after a long adventurous day

"Okie Dokie Smokie" to end a phone call right

When Peanut would call him on a Sunday night.

He held dear the fishing and hunting trips with his sons

Always hoping they would get lucky and bring home the big ones

Goodbye to a man who touched so many and I'm lucky to say

He was my father, my hero, the sunshine in my life every day.



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