Donald E. Bender, 89, of the Lake of Egypt, peacefully passed away on Monday morning, April 19, 2021 at 4:45 am at The Davis Community in Wilmington, NC.
Don was born in 1931 in Herrin, the son of Aggard and Mary Bender. He grew up in Herrin where he attended South Side School and graduated from Herrin High School in 1949. Don joined the U.S. Air Force right after high school where he repaired aircraft at Ladd Air Force Base near Fairbanks Alaska. After promotion to staff sergeant, Don left the Air Force in 1952 and graduated from SIU’s Vocational Technical Institute at Crab Orchard. Later, he was employed at McDonald Douglas Aircraft Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri.
Don married Dolores Bione on April 7, 1957 and together they shared over 58 wonderful years of marriage until Dolores passed on September 29, 2015. Don joined Olin Mathison located in the Crab Orchard Ordill area in 1959 as a mechanical engineer and retired in 1993.
He was an active member of the Herrin Elks and American Legion. Don held a lifelong love for his dogs, fishing, camping, and travel.
He was a caring Father and Grandfather who especially loved travelling with Dolores to spend time with their grandchildren and family.
Donald is survived by their son, David Bender (Susan) of Beech Island, SC and daughter Donna Evangelous (Ralph) of Wilmington, NC; two grandchildren Tyler and Kaitlyn Evangelous; his sister, Elaine Kirkman of Energy; nephews, John Ervin and Randy Kirkman; and nieces, Cynthia Ervin (Thaler), Kimira Kirkman (Benton) and Sherry Kirkman.
He was preceded in death by his wife Dolores, his brother Richard, and his parents.
Special thanks go to his good friend and ‘jack of all trades’, Steve Slimak, whose help allowed Don to stay in his home at Lake of Egypt these past 5-1/2 years.
Visitation and memorial services will be held on Sunday, June 6, at the Johnson-Hughes Funeral Home in Herrin. Visitation 12:30 -1:30 and services beginning 1:30 with Rev. Sherry Black officiating. Interment will follow at Egyptian Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in West Frankfort, Lower Cape Fear Hospice in Wilmington, NC (lifecare.org/donate) or the American Parkinson’s Disease Association (apdaparkinson.org).