Cover photo for Donald R. Bender's Obituary
Donald R. Bender Profile Photo
1960 Don 2023

Donald R. Bender

December 18, 1960 — July 2, 2023

Vassar

Donald "Don" Robert Bender, 62, passed away peacefully late evening July 2nd, 2023 with family by his side.

He was born December 18th, 1960, the only child of Robert and Coral (Viele) Bender in Saginaw, MI. Don graduated from Vassar High School in 1979. He attended Michigan State University, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology in 1984. He also earned a Master’s Degree in Engineering Management from Kettering University in 1994. During high school, Don discovered a passion for photography and music, which he always made a part of his life. While attending Michigan State, he proudly was a member of the drum line in the Spartan Marching Band. He was an avid fan of Michigan State sports. His hobbies included brewing craft beer, smoking and barbecuing, playing cribbage, camping, photographing Michigan’s natural beauty, playing drums for the Vassar City Band and with other local orchestra groups, and spending time with family, especially his granddaughters. He was greatly looking forward to the birth of his first grandson in November 2023.

On July 17th, 1982, he married the love of his life, Julie Sutherland and they celebrated 41 years of marriage together. They were blessed with three children, Allison (Gregory) Ellison, Molly (Nick) Ralph, and Maxwell (Alissa) Bender. He is survived by his wife, children, and their spouses, as well as his granddaughters Reagan, Aria, Maggie, and Baby Boy Ralph due in November.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Bob and Coral Bender, grandparents Wesley and Evelyn Viele and Adelia and Ernest Bender, and his mother-in-law, Sharon Sutherland.

Don's family will welcome friends and family to Hanlin Funeral Home - Vassar from 2-7 p.m. on Friday, July 7th, 2023. Don's funeral will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 8th, 2023, at St. Luke's Lutheran Church (916 W. Huron Avenue, Vassar, MI 48768); visitation at church from 12 p.m. until the time of service.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to St. Luke's Lutheran Church or to Julie Bender for the establishment of a future music scholarship.

Share a memory or condolence with Don's family in the guestbook below.

Don and his family are in the care of Hanlin Funeral Home - Vassar. 1148 W. Saginaw Road, Vassar, MI 48768. Phone (989) 823-8621.

HANLIN FUNERAL HOMES

Serving Millington & Vassar, MI

Since 1928

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald R. Bender, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, July 7, 2023

2:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Hanlin Funeral Home - Vassar

1148 West Saginaw Road, Vassar, MI 48768

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Visitation

Saturday, July 8, 2023

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Luke's Lutheran Church

916 W. Huron Ave, Vassar, MI 48768

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

St. Luke's Lutheran Church

916 W. Huron Ave, Vassar, MI 48768

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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