THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Wayne R. Bender
Issue Date: February 14, 2018
Wayne R. Bender, Town of Peshtigo, passed away with family at his side on February 1, 2018.
Born February 20, 1938 in Homer, Michigan to Russell and Blanche (Signor) Bender, Wayne grew up on a large dairy farm and graduated from Homer High School. He attended Michigan State, completing their dairy administration program.
Early in his career, Wayne worked in insurance underwriting for State Farm. He then pursued his passion of flight and earned his pilot's license, becoming a corporate pilot. He also flew airmail for the U.S. Postal Service between lower and Upper Michigan, eventually moving his family to Norway, MI.
Wayne was proud of his Coast Guard captain's license. He operated a charter fishing business out of Sheboygan, naming his boat "It's Assured" and nearly always fulfilling that promise! He loved being on the water and lived his dream of being near it most of his life.
Wayne spent many years working in the manufactured housing business, especially with Bob's Homes, as well as Steenberg and Perret Homes. His expertise ranged from sales and design, to site prep, delivery and set up.
Both a thinker and a tinker, Wayne was a natural scientist and inventor. He drew up hundreds of plans on his drafting table, creating and building practical solutions to improve everyday life. He engaged in a lifelong pursuit of learning and enjoyed sharing his knowledge and experiences. He had a sharp wit and was an excellent storyteller. You always knew where you stood with Wayne.
Anyone who knew Wayne knew his passion for gardening. He grew, harvested and preserved an abundance of vegetables and fruits every year. An original farm-to-table chef, he loved preparing the food he grew and generously shared fresh produce and canned preserves with family and friends.
Wayne was a proud father and grandfather and loved time with family. On June 19, 1993, he married Kathy (Freele) Bender, who shared his passion for nature and loved working side by side with Wayne in their gardens and kitchen.
He is survived by Kathy; a son, Perry Bender of Coldwater, MI; daughters Kathy (Greg Reinhardt) Skog and Beth (Brennan Van Effen) Bender, of Neenah and stepson, Jared (Lauren) Parr of Merrill. He is also survived by his brother, Gerald (Joyce) Bender of Litchfield, MI and sister, Betty (Robert) Fleming of Concord, MI. Further survived by grandchildren, Josh Skog, Ryan (Amanda) Skog, Lindsay (Andy) Daly, Courtney Bender, Bailee Stahl, and Summer Bender and great-grandchildren Finley, Auggie, Isabel, Juniper and Ginger. Also survived by his mother-in-law, Patricia Freele of Wausaukee; sisters- and brothers-in-law and many nieces; nephews and friends.
Preceded in death by his parents, an infant granddaughter Jennifer and his former wife, Judith Drew.
A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Wayne was honored to be a church leader during a period of rapid growth for the Sheboygan branch. He cherished friendships with many church families over the decades.
A celebration of Wayne's life will be held Saturday, February 17, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1620 46th Avenue in Menominee, MI. Visitation is at 10:00 am with the service at 11:00 am.