Richard J Bender, 71, Kaukauna died peacefully on Monday April 12, 2021 at St. Elizabeth Hospital with his family by his side. He had been diagnosed with CMML in January 2020 and had a bone marrow transplant at Froedtert Hospital in August 2020.
Dick was born on November 29, 1949 to the late Frank and Rose (Denor) Bender in Manitowoc, WI. He married Linda Lensmire on June 22, 1974 in Kellnersville, WI, sharing 46 years of marriage. Together they had 2 daughters (Katie and Julie) and 2 sons (Christopher and Scott).
Dick graduated from Lincoln High School in Manitowoc in 1967. He graduated from UWGB in 1971 with a degree in Environmental Sciences and obtained his teaching certification from Holy Family College in Manitowoc in 1973. Dick was a chemistry/science teacher at Little Chute High School for 35 years, from 1973-2008. He loved education and was a lifelong learner. He had many more credits than needed towards his Master’s Degree but preferred to take classes pertaining to what he was teaching, rather than classes just to get the degree.
Dick was a loving husband, father and grandfather. He loved his children, watching them grow and become adults. He loved the unique personalities of all 4 of his grandsons. Dick loved telling his dad jokes, a trait passed onto his grandchildren, and loved motorcycles and cars almost as much as his family.
After his retirement in 2008, Dick and Linda enjoyed taking road trips and were hoping to take many more. He was an active member of the Kaukauna Lions Club, serving as president for 2 terms. He enjoyed substitue teaching at the area high schools.
Dick is survived by his loving wife, Linda; his children Katie (Nathan) VanderZanden, Danny, Will and Thomas VanderZanden; Julie Bender; Christopher (Whitney) Bender; and Scott(Lauren) Bender and Carson Bender. He is further survived by his brothers and sisters-in-law: Susie and Jim Luther; Gary and Faye Lensmire; RoseMary and Dave Hartlaub; Gloria Levendoski; Robert Lensmire; Mary Ann Koch; Dan and Lisa Lensmire; Nancy and Tim Brandes; Laurie and Gary Mangin; Pat and Pam Lensmire; and Sandy and Steve Shimon. Also survived by 3 Goddaughters; Lisa Willey; Alissa Schnitzlein; and Melissa Brandes. He is further survived by many nieces and nephews, relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents Frank and Rose Bender; his father-in-law Lawrence Lensmire; his mother-in-law Agatha Lensmire; a brother-in-law, Jeff Koch; and his 2 best friends, his dogs Bailey and Dakota.
A Thank You to the St. Elizabeth Oncology Department and Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee.
A funeral litergy will be held at 12:00 PM on Friday April 16, 2021 at St. Katharine Drexel Parish, St. Mary site, 119 W 7th St, Kaukauna, WI, 54130. Visitation will be held at the church from 10:00 AM until the hour of service.
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