Helen Bender passed away Thursday, March 27, 2014, at the age of 81 while a resident of Mountain View Healthcare.
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Helen was born Aug. 29, 1932, in Bozeman, to Gar and Nellie Carlson, the third of four daughters. She joined sisters, Margaret and Dorothy. The family moved for a short period to Oregon when Helen was a young girl. The draw of Bozeman brought them back and Helen was educated through Bozeman's school system. In high school, Helen and her friends were known to enjoy good laughs and fun activities.
She married Richard (Dick) Bender on Sept. 11, 1959, and enjoyed almost 10 years of marriage before Dick passed away unexpected in July 1969. During those years, Helen and Dick enjoyed hiking and camping in the mountains around Bozeman. Together they formed a love for dogs, which stayed with Helen her whole life. Helen's nieces and nephews, and later even great-nieces and great-nephews, always wanted a puppy to take home when a new litter arrived, to the consternation of parents.
Over the years, Helen transferred her love for camping to her yard. In the spring, summer and fall, Helen could often be seen attending her flowers, shrubs and cherry trees. She had a green thumb for sure! One of her greatest joys was to sit in her backyard with friends or family while her dogs ran around the yard or rested at her feet. Barbeques with friends and family were plentiful at her house.
Helen's work career spanned retailing, optical assistant, Bozeman Police Officer, Gallatin County Sheriff Deputy and finally owning her own business as a process server for Gallatin County. She was also a 50-year member of the Lily of the Valley, Chapter #4, Order of the Eastern Star.
After Helen retired, she moved from Bozeman to Manhattan, Butte, Laurel and finally back 'home' to Bozeman.
Helen is survived by her youngest sister, Barbara (Parsons) Kuiken, Bozeman; nieces, Sheena (Hedrick) and Leroy Lamach, Polson; Janet (VanHorn) and Robin Smyth, Gladstone, Ore.; Jackie (Parsons) Koskie, Billings; Alana (Parsons) and Tom Hamilton, Northglenn, Colo.; nephews, John (Caroline) VanHorn, Sorrento, Fla.; Bruce (Della) VanHorn, Circle; and Mike (Linda) Parsons, Bozeman. Helen leaves over 25 great-nieces and nephews and over 15 great-great-nieces and nephews. In addition to her husband, Helen was preceded in death by her parents, sisters and brother-in-laws, Margaret and Paul VanHorn, Dorothy and Stan Hedrick; brother-in-law, Jay Kuiken; nephew, Ken Hedrick; and niece and nephew-in-law, Judy and Bill Armold.
The family would like to thank the Mountain View staff for the wonderful care and companionship they provided to Helen.
At Helen's request, memorials may be made in her name to Bozeman Deaconess Cancer Center, 931 Highland Blvd., St. 3200, Bozeman, MT 59715 or Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 11390, Bozeman, MT 59719.
Memorial Services will be held Friday, April 4, 2014, at 2 p.m. at Dokken-Nelson Sunset Chapel.
Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, www.dokkennelson.com.
Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service
113 South Willson Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle from Apr. 2 to Apr. 3, 2014