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Donald "Don" August Bender passed away at age 91 on February 19, 2015 in Mt. Angel, Oregon.

Don was born in 1924 to Gus and Kate (Borsch) Bender, a member of a pioneering family in Jordan, Oregon. Don served in the Army in World War II in the 82nd Airborne, and was well known throughout the timber mill community of the Santiam Canyon, having worked as a millwright for many years at Frank Lumber Company.

He married his late wife, Patricia "Pat" (Gorman) Bender in 1948 at Immaculate Conception Parish in Stayton, and they spent many happy years together before her death in 2004. Don was a faithful member of his parishes throughout his life. He was raised in Lourdes Parish in Jordan, raised his children at Immaculate Conception, and faithfully attended mass at Lourdes Chapel at Mt. Angel Towers in recent years. His children and grandchildren fondly remember Don's green thumb, his woodworking, his innovative "life hacks," his storytelling, and his warm smile and easy laughter. When asked what he would like his obituary to say, Don replied, "crabby old booger," but everyone who knew him knows that he was one of the warmest and most jovial souls they ever met.

It is impossible to think of Don without also remembering Pat, and his family is very happy to think of him at peace, resting again in the arms of his beloved wife. Don was also preceded in death by his son: Theodore Bender, and his siblings: Bill, Sister Betty of Sisters of Saint Mary of Oregon, Eustace and Bernard. He is survived by his children: Mary Kay of Portland, Steve of Stayton, Margaret Hafner of Sublimity, Bob of Salem, Chris Bender-Hafner of Lyons, Sue Vander Beek of Olympia, Washington, Vince of Jefferson, and Sara of Nashville, Tennessee. His surviving siblings are his sister: Mother Clare of the Poor Clare Convent in Santa Barbara, California, and brother: David Bender of Scio. He is also survived by 22 grandchildren,10 great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter.

A funeral will be held for Don on Saturday, February 28, 2015, at 11 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Church in Stayton, Oregon. A wake will follow at Anthony Hall in Sublimity, Oregon. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Willamette Valley Hospice or to Regis High School.

[Salem, Oregon Statesman Journal on Feb. 22, 2015]
[wedding photo courtesy of "Dr. John"]

[courtesy of Wendy McClure]

Donald enlisted in the Army at Portland, OR on 15 June 1943.

On 19 February 1945 Pvt Bender was transferred from the 3rd Replacement Depot to Company B, 508th PIR.

It is not known what unit he had been with during combat but after arriving in the 508th he was awarded the Combat Infantryman badge "for the Bulge Campaign, from 15 Feb 45."

He may have been wounded and then reassigned to the 508th following recuperation.

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