|Birth: ||Apr. 12, 1920|
North Dakota, USA
|Death: ||Aug. 22, 2009|
YAKIMA - Frieda Bender was born to Sophia and Gottlieb Schrenk on April 12, 1920 on a farm outside of Venturia, North Dakota. As the oldest of six children, Frieda worked hard even as a small child to help with the farm work.
In order to help feed and clothe her five younger siblings, Frieda took work at a large farm nearby. From 5 am until midnight, she butchered chickens, milked cows and fed livestock. She also helped cook the meals, washed the dishes and washed, ironed, and mended the clothes. And Frieda cleaned their house, barn and chicken coop plus cared for the children - all for the sum of fifty cents a day. Yet the rich family who employed Frieda wanted to take even that from her because they said she ate too much!
Frieda continued to help support her family by working in nursing homes and small town stores until her marriage to Theodore Jacob Bender on December 16, 1945. That night, it was so cold that Ted's nephew, Edwin Bender, froze his toes getting to the reception.
Little did she know then that her hard work and ability to endure the harsh Dakota winters would prepare her for even greater challenges in Washington State. From 1945 to 1959, Frieda and Ted ran "Ted's Service Station" together at 1314 E. Lennox Avenue - now Nob Hill Blvd. - across from the main entrance to Yakima's Central Washington Fairgrounds.
Frieda often put in 15 hour workdays pumping gas, cleaning windshields, and generally waiting on customers in the station's "convenience store" while Ted serviced the cars and trucks. When her Shiela Mae and Bruce Lee were born, customers assumed the children were adopted! As Frieda did not want anyone to make fun of her for working while carrying them, she wore a special corset to hide her pregnancies. She worked up until her delivery dates were almost at hand. Old photos reveal that commercial truck tires often served as the toddlers' playpens.
Though she was very busy running the day-to-day operations of the station, Frieda always found the time and energy to fix a delicious supper for her family. Frieda's recipes were tasty and became so well known that many German-speaking people from the Yakima Valley and surrounding towns often dropped by on Saturdays "just in time" to join the family for supper.
In the late fifties, the gas wars initiated by the big oil companies drove many family owned filling stations out of business, including Ted's Service Station. With little funds, Ted and Frieda remodeled old homes and provided clean, affordable rental homes to struggling families.
Because of tough economic times and generous hearts, Frieda and Ted had few resources to provide for their children. So Frieda made do with whatever was available. She helped Ted remodel a condemned house and created a lovely home for her family to enjoy. Frieda had gone "green" long before it became fashionable. A vegetable garden provided fresh food in summer and she canned food for winters. Colorful flower gardens brightened the family yard and her dried flowers provided welcome decor the year around. From local farmers Frieda bought live chickens cheap, slaughtered them in her back yard, and prepared and froze them for future meals.
Local German women who prided themselves as good cooks eagerly awaited her newest creations. Little did they know during their midnight-supper weekend visits, the economy with which Frieda fixed those mouth-watering desserts. One of them was even featured by the food editor in the Wednesday Food Section of the Yakima Valley Herald, after the editor's daughter tasted Frieda's recipe at a potluck.
On July 3, 1981, Ted, her husband of 36 years, died of a heart attack. Twenty-eight years later on July 3, 2009, Frieda suffered a massive stroke. Up until that time, she lived an independent lifestyle as only Frieda could.
Following release from the hospital on July 10th until Saturday, August 22, 2009 Frieda resided at Crescent Skilled Nursing Care Home in Yakima, Washington.
On Saturday, August 22nd, at 3:15 pm in the afternoon, Frieda left the loving arms of her son and entered into the loving arms of her Savior.
Frieda Bender was honest and upright - the salt of the earth - a good Christian woman who for over sixty years was a member of the First Baptist Church of Yakima, Washington.
During her 89 years of health, Frieda never asked anything of anyone. And she worked hard all her life. The greatest credit to her is that her children, Bruce and Shiela, are known to be "hard workers" too.
Frieda is survived by her son Bruce Bender of Yakima, daughter Shiela Bender of Kansas City, Missouri, one granddaughter Charrissa, Mrs. Phillip Browning, and six great grandchildren: Isaac, Gabriel, Ethan, Elizabeth, Chloe and Justus - all of Port Orchard, Washington and a beloved sister-in-law and best friend, Martha Schrenk of Seattle.
Viewing will be offered Wednesday, August 26, 2009, from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Thursday morning from 8:30 to 10:30 am. A Graveside Service will be held on Thursday, August 27, 2009, at 12:00 noon, at West Hills Memorial Park.
Theodore J Bender (1915 - 1981)*
West Hills Memorial Park
Created by: Ellen Allmendinger
Record added: May 28, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 70527372