Wayne E. Bender, 67, died in Juneau on Dec. 31, 2002, after a short illness.
He was born on Nov. 24, 1935, in Battle Creek, Mich., to John Milton and Laura Elizabeth (Clough) Bender. He graduated from Battle Creek Central High School in 1954. On Nov. 30, 1957, he married Linda Hollman. On Dec. 4, 1958, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, VI Corps, Michigan. He was assigned to the motor pool as a driver and served in Korea during peace time operating and maintaining heavy vehicles. He served nine years with the U.S. Army and Reserves, achieving the rank of specialist V. He was classified as a sharpshooter (rifle) and received a good-conduct medal.
He became a heavy-equipment operator and later was a tractor-trailer driver and mechanic in Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. He also was a heavy- and light-equipment mechanic and became a journeyman ironworker.
In 1977, along with his wife and two children, he moved to Minnesota. In 1981, the family migrated north to Alaska, with brief church residencies in Lakewood, Colo., and Fort St. John, British Columbia. He and his family arrived in Juneau in September 1982, where they have since resided, with the exception of a residency at Mount Bether Bible Center in Hoonah from 1985 to 1987.
In Juneau, he worked as a security agent at the state Capitol and was a security officer at state buildings in Juneau. Also through Knightwatch Security, he patrolled state parking lots and provided security at the Gold Creek and Sheep Creek mines. While serving at the Capitol, he was honored with certificates of commendation for excellent service from former Gov. Walter Hickel and the Legislature.
He was a graduate of a Sign Language school. He enjoyed singing, gardening, RV'ing, mushrooming, camping, hunting, fishing, boating, hiking, 4-wheeling, and traveling. He will be most remembered for serving the Lord, and for his gentle, loving manner as he helped others, spent time with his family, and did activities with his grandchildren, his family said.
He was a member of ironworkers Local 340 and of Mobile Communications Emergency Unit in Battle Creek, Mich. He was on the cradle roll of Baseline United Methodist Church and joined the church and choir in his youth. Most recently in Juneau, he was a member of Word of Life Christian Center, where he served as head usher. He also was a member of national AARP and the Juneau chapter.
He was preceded in death by a baby sister, Pearl Mae, and by his parents.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Linda Bender of Juneau; his son John Bender of Juneau; his daughter Patti (and Dusty) Rumfelt of Juneau; a sister Ellen (and James) McDermid of Battle Creek, Michigan; a sister Joyce Harrison of Battle Creek, Michigan; two nephews and five nieces; numerous grandnephews and grandnieces; several cousins; and two grandchildren, Isaac and Elizabeth Rumfelt of Juneau.
At his wishes, he was cremated, and his ashes were returned to the family. A memorial service in celebration of his life will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, at Valley Chapel in Juneau. The service will be officiated by the Rev. Ariel T. Yadao and a meal will follow. Those wishing to express condolence may contact the family at 789-9807 or 790-1854. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to P.O. Box 32376, Juneau, AK 99803.