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 www.overman-jones.com