Frank C. Bender
1923 - 2020
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Frank C. Bender

Born: October 31, 1923; Webster, South Dakota

Died: October 9, 2020; Plainfield

PLAINFIELD – Dr. Frank Clifford Bender, age 96, a resident of Plainfield, ILsince the late 1940s, passed away peacefully on October 9, 2020 at his home with the love of his life, Bette, at his side.

He was born on October 31, 1923 in Webster, SD. Frank is survived by his beloved wife of 76 years, Bette Jane Bender (née Lehmann); his loving children, Sandra (Robert Duane) Hild of Littleton, CO, Clifford Bender of Plano, IL and Nora (John) Bayer of Plainfield, IL; his cherished grandchildren, Scott (Mary) Hild, Jeff (Sally) Hild, Nicole (Matt) Guider, Brandt (Amy) Bender, Gregory (Lynette) Bayer and Jenelle (Bret) Ehrlich and his twelve great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his siblings, Robert, Dottie and Donna.

Frank proudly served in the U.S. Army during WWII and the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict. He attended Ohio State University and earned his medical degree from the University of Illinois. Following his service commitments in WWII and Korea, Dr. Bender focused his energies on his practice and family in Plainfield, setting aside hobbies and outside interests. As he approached his 40s, he finished his pursuit of a private pilot license, a dream he started in high school, followed up with commercial, instrument, multiengine, seaplane and glider ratings, eventually purchasing a Beech Bonanza heshared with his son and grandson Brandt. He served as an FAA flight surgeon, providing physicals for countless area pilots. For additional excitement he was a frequent skydiver and made several rides as a wingwalker on Gene Littlefield's airshow Stearman biplane.

Around the same time, he began focusing on physical fitness, first running, then skiing, tennis, golf, scuba diving, kayaking, and running rapids in the Colorado River, many times with wife Bette. He also became a formidable racquetball player, playing regularly into his early 90s.A devotedand compassionate MD, he was on staff at St. Joseph (now Amita Presence) and Silver Cross hospitals for many years. From bringing babies into the world to performing major surgeries, as well as making house calls and office visits, he did it all and enjoyed every minute. He was Chief of Staff at St. Joseph's and founder of the F.C. Bender award. For many years, up to retirement, he woulds elect a staff member each year worthy of this award.

Dr. Bender knew how to balance his dedication to his patients and practice with his devotion to his family. He planned exciting family vacations, full ofmemories, to destinations as far east as Bar Harbor, Maine and Cape Cod, and as far west as Glacier National Park and Yellowstone. Fishing was often apart of the planning. When he and Bette had raised the children to adulthood, their adventures continued from France and England, to Antarctica, to Palau, New Zealand, and Australia, always looking for new experiences.

Teaching his grandchildren to ski, making gingerbread houses with hisgreat-grandchildren, and proudly dancing with Bette after being honored as the longest married couple at his grandchildren's weddings, Dr. Bender lived life to its fullest. He was always very active and adventuresome, and one of hisfavorite sayings was "To rest is to rust."

For those who would like to leave a lasting tribute to Frank's life, memorials may be directed to the Will-Grundy County Free Clinic, 213 East Cass St., Joliet, IL 60432 or the American Heart Association, 3816 Paysphere Circle, Chicago, IL 60674.

A private family inurnment service will be at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, Elwood, IL. Overman-Jones Funeral Home &Cremation Services, Plainfield is entrusted with arrangements.

For information, please call 815-436-9221 or visit

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Herald-News on Oct. 17, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Overman-Jones Funeral Home
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11 entries
October 20, 2020
What a wonderful man. He always took time to stop and talk to me in the Doctors Lounge at St Joe's. I am a proud recipient of The Dr. Frank Bender Award. God Bless his family.
Brenda Ward
October 20, 2020
Dr. Bender was a warm and caring gentleman who selflessly served his community. One of the role models who influenced my choice to pursue a career in Medicine. My condolences to his family.
Allen Saxon M.D.
October 19, 2020
Dr Bender was one of a kind. They don’t make drs like him anymore. Condolences to the family.

Antiporek Family
October 19, 2020
Frank was my childhood physician. I was into fitness and as I grew older, our conversations gravitated to his workout activities. He was a very friendly and engaging person. He will be missed. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.
Linda Eaton Bernhagen
October 18, 2020
Dr. Bender was our family physician for many years. My father in law Richard Gilson not only saw him as his doctor but I feel he considered him a friend. I always loved when I brought the kids in he would first say so mom what do you think it is... I have so many fond memories with his staff Mary and June. They all really cared. We also remember at Plainfield fest when he sky walked on the plane. Our deepest condolences to Mrs. Bender and your family. We cherish that he has touched so many lives including ours. So our family thanks you for sharing him with us. Sincerely Teresa Dave Laura and Andrew Gilson.
Teresa Gilson
October 18, 2020
The Doc. Will truly be missed.. He touched allot of lives. He was a beacon of light for all to see and enjoy. My prayers for him and the family. Earley & Terri Coleman.
Earley Coleman
October 18, 2020
Dr. Bender was our family doctor and I remember him making a house call to see me at our house. I remember his first office in Plainfield. I always enjoyed seeing him and hearing his interesting stories. I became a nurse becausecI was influenced by him and his office nurse. Condolences to his family.
Jeanette Eleff
October 17, 2020
Sincere condolences from the Jim Graham Family
Patricia Graham Cremeens
October 17, 2020
My father was his patient for
Many years in the office on Plainfield Rd. I
Also was a nurse at Lakewood when Dr. Bender was the Medical Director. RIP Dr. Bender. Condolences to your family.
Cheryl Casillas
October 17, 2020
The kindest most pleasant physician I ever worked with. He walked through the ED just about every day, he greeted everyone. RIP Frank.
Terri Kennedy
October 17, 2020
Growing up he was our family doctor. Never acted rushed, always took time and care no matter what. God bless to all his family and friends. He was one of a kind
Pam (fortenberry) Sims
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