Gerald Bender, 85, of Highlands Ridge in Avon Park, Florida, passed away on Sept. 1, 2020.
Jerry was born in 1935 to Maurice and Marie Bender in Carrolltown, Pennsylvania. As a boy he loved sports and camping and socializing. He played a lot of baseball. He and his mom were big fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played the trumpet in the marching band, was an avid Boy Scout and earned his Eagle Scout badge. His fondness for golf came from his dad. After graduating from John Carroll High School (formerly Carrolltown High School) in 1953 as valedictorian, he went on to study chemical engineering at Penn State University (1957). During that time he also served four years in the Naval Reserves.
After graduation, he landed his first job as a chemical engineer for Dupont for 10 years. In 1967 he accepted a job in Chicago with R.R. Donnelley as a chemical engineer. After 28 years he retired in 1995 as vice president of Environmental Affairs.
In 1962, he met Joan, and they wed in 1963, going on to have four children, Ann (Rocky), Nancy (Fred), Jane (Gary), and Karen (Pat); and eight grandchildren, Roxanne, John, Alyssa, Jarod, Adriana, Jack, Mac, and Christian.
Jerry was a force of nature, determined to provide for his family and give them the life he felt they deserved. His family meant more to him than anything else in the world. He was unendingly proud of Joan, and Ann, Nancy, Jane, and Karen, and always tried his best to support them.
Jerry was a passionate golfer, traveler, investor, and always enjoyed a good meal. Annual family vacations to the ocean in South Carolina and Florida were a highlight for the whole family. Water slides and beaches were visited by all and Jerry and Joan hit the golf greens regularly. He was a faithful Catholic his entire life. From altar boy to usher to Eucharistic Minister for many years, his faith was unwavering. He was a member of the American Legion and the Elks.
Anyone who knew Jerry knew that he was the most loving father and husband a family could ask for. Jerry was predeceased by his parents and siblings Don and Jeannie. He is survived by his brother Dick.
Due to the pandemic, there will be a private memorial/blessing; details are still being worked out. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the American Heart Association www2.heart.org