|Birth: ||Nov. 5, 1923|
|Death: ||Dec. 11, 2011|
Ralph W. Bender
Nov. 5, 1923 – Dec. 11, 2011
Ralph W. Bender, 88, of Tustin, Calif., died at home Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011 after a brief illness.
A military funeral honors ceremony was held at the Riverside National Cemetery Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, followed by a celebration of Ralph's life at the family home in Tustin, Calif.
Ralph was born the seventh child of James Calvin and Elizabeth Schneider Bender in Monticello, Iowa on Nov. 5, 1923.
After graduating high school, Ralph set out for California. At the start of World War II, he worked for a brief time in the defense industry, before enlisting in the Army. As with so many men of his generation, the next years would have a lasting and permanent effect on this life. Ralph trained and flew B-17 bombers out of Italy. He flew many missions, was a prisoner of war, and was decorated for his service. He served and sacrificed much.
After the war, Ralph returned to Monticello, where he met Helen at Gerald's Sweet Shop on Main Street. They married, and for the next 64 years they shared their lives as husband and wife. Ralph and Helen moved to Cedar Falls, where he attended Iowa State Teachers College and obtained a bachelors degree and in 1950 moved to California.
Ralph was called again to service in the Korean War, and continued as an officer in the Air Force until he retired in 1957, as a Lieutenant Colonel. Upon leaving the Air Force, Ralph worked as a parole agent for the State of California for 25 years. During these years, he and Helen raised their family and established a home in Southern California.
Ralph is survived by a loving extended family. His loving wife of 64 years, Helen (Gerdes) Bender remains in the home. Three children survive their father: His son, Calvin Bender and daughter-in-law, Joni Bender of Roeland Park, Kans., grandchildren William and Maggie Bender, step-grandchildren Heather Phillips, Jennifer Gunby, Sara Gunby, Kevin Gunby, and Eric Gunby; his daughter, Gretchen Sparks and son-in- law, William Sparks of Bellaire, Texas, grandchildren Sara Duran, Kristen Wolf and Claire Sparks; and his son, Mark Bender of San Diego, Calif., and grandchildren Jessica Bender, Darcy Bender and Andrea Bender. In addition, eight great- grandchildren also survive Ralph. Ralph has two surviving sisters, Jean Melton of Independence, Mo. and Kathleen Clark of Monticello, as well as many loving nieces, nephews and family.
Ralphs humor, stories and guidance are remembered by those who met him. In many ways he was a complicated man, molded by his life's experiences and tempered by his humor and intelligence. To all those who loved him, he will be missed.
James Calvin Bender (1886 - 1981)
Edith C Schneider Bender (1887 - 1974)
James Albert Bender (1911 - 2005)*
Ruth Elizabeth Bender Burris (1915 - 2000)*
Charles E Bender (1919 - 1941)*
Ralph Warren Bender (1923 - 2011)
Riverside National Cemetery
Created by: Sharon Lindbloom
Record added: Jan 04, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 82949813
Added by: Anonymous
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