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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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John F. Bender

John F. Bender, 59, of Crystal Falls, Mi. and Chatham, Va., passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, Aug. 27 in Angola, Africa.

Born Feb. 26, 1952 in Iron Mountain, Mi., he was the son of Pauline (Dalpra) Bender and the late Frederick Fritz Bender. On Dec. 12, 2002 he married Deborah Dacheff, an Iron River native, in Yanceyville, N.C.

He graduated from Crystal Falls High School in 1970 and attended Michigan Tech at Houghton before entering the United States Army on Oct. 3, 1971. He served at Fort Knox, Ky., Fort McClellan, Ala., the Naval Support Facility at Indian Head, Md. and received his discharge from Camp Drum, N.Y. in 1973.

Following the service he went to Northern Michigan University and received a chemical engineering degree from Clarkson University, Potsdam, N.Y. He was a chemical engineer and worked for Oceaneering, a global oilfield provider of engineered services and products, primarily to the offshore oil and gas industry. Prior to working for Oceaneering, he worked at 3M Corporation, St. Paul, Minn.; Saudi Aramaco for over 14 years; Specialty Chem Corporation, Marinette and DanChem Technologies, Inc., Danville, Va.

He had varied hobbies and interests, including hunting, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, golfing, skiing, reading and more. He held fond memories of his youth days at the local Camp Batawagama and in recent years maintained his support of their mission for youth. He also enjoyed his camp and property outside of Crystal Falls.

Survivors include his wife, Deborah Bender; his mother, Pauline Bender of Crystal Falls; two sons, Mathew Bender and Lucas Bender, both of Menominee; a daughter, Rachel (James Dells) Bender of Maryland; one grandson; two stepsons, Jason Lopez of Cocoa, Fla. and Justin Lopez of Orlando, Fla.; four brothers, Paul (Kelly) Bender of Crystal Falls, Stephen (Sheila) Bender of Perry, Mi., Mark (Kathy) Bender of Marquette, Mi. and David (Donna) Bender of Kent, Wash.; his father-in-law, Michael S. Dacheff of Iron River, Mi.; an aunt, Patricia Dalpra of Crystal Falls; an uncle, Franklin (Frankie Mae) Dalpra of Kingsford, Mi. and nieces, nephews, other relatives and countless friends here and abroad.

He was preceded in death by his father, Frederick "Fritz" Bender on Jan. 31, 1966 and his mother-in-law, Marilyn Dacheff.

Visitation was held on Tuesday, Sept. 13 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Jacobs-Plowe Funeral Home, Crystal Falls. A Funeral Mass was celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14 at Guardian Angels Catholic Church, Crystal Falls. Rev. Jeffrey Kurtz officiated and burial was in Evergreen Memorial Cemetery, Crystal Falls. Military rites were accorded by the East Side Veterans Council. Additionally, a memorial service will be held at a later date in Chatham, Va. at the Cornerstone Church of Christ. In lieu of flowers the family requests any memorials go to Friends of Camp Batawagama, P.O. Box 482, Iron River, MI 49935.


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