Stephen Richard Bender of Elk Park, NC, passed away on December 18, 2022 at Appalachian Regional Medical Center. Steve was born on October 28, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts to the late Dr. Charles Richard Bender and Ruth Jardine Bender.
Steve was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Davidson College with a BS in Chemistry. He took additional classes at Georgia Tech and received a Master of Arts in teaching from Emory University. He taught in Oak Park, Illinois Public Schools before affiliating with The Presbyterian Mission Board as a teacher of missionary children in Ceres, Brazil. He returned to Oak Park after three years and retired from Oak Park Schools after thirty years.
Steve and his wife, Donna, moved to Banner Elk in 1995. Steve was a lifelong Presbyterian, having been raised at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He was very active in Banner Elk Presbyterian Church as an elder, adult Sunday School teacher and member of the Chancel Choir. Steve was a servant of God and loved helping in any way he could. He and Donna took courses in lay ministry through the Presbyterian Church.
He also served the community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, preparing income taxes through AARP and conducting numerous used book sales for the Avery County Public Library. Anytime a request for help was made, Steve was there.
Steve is survived by his wife of 40 years, Donna Gentile Bender, and four children – Amy Lynne Bender (Chris Johnstone), Charles Richard Bender, II (Mitze), Elizabeth Jardine Bender (Brad Tombleson), Stephen Richard Bender (Alison) and five grandchildren. Also surviving him are two sisters, Andrea Arquitt (Ed) and Karen Cooper (Joe).
Steve’s priorities were God, family, Church, Coca Cola and the NY Yankees.
A memorial service will be held on December 28 at 2:00 PM at Banner Elk Presbyterian Church with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for contributions to Banner Elk Presbyterian Church in Steve’s memory.