YANKTON, S.D. — Charles F. “Charlie” Bender, 82, Yankton, S.D., died peacefully May 15, 2018, at Avera Majestic Bluffs Hospice House, Yankton.
Visitation, with a rosary and vigil service, was May 21 at the Wintz and Ray Funeral Home, Yankton, and continued one hour prior to the funeral at the church.
Mass of Christian Burial was May 22 at St. Benedict Catholic Church, Yankton, with Rev. Scott Traynor officiating.
Burial will be in the Sacred Heart Cemetery, Yankton, with military honors performed by the Ernest-Bowyer VFW Post No. 791 and SD Army National Guard Funeral Honors.
Pallbearers were Steve Krcil, Kenneth Hauck, James Bender, Todd Hecht, Steve Bender, Mark Bender, Karl Bender and Patrick Bender.
Honorary pallbearers were all of his grandchildren.
Charlie was born Feb. 9, 1936, in St. Helena, to Julius and Hilaria (Bruening) Bender. Growing up, Charlie attended country and St. Helena public schools. In 1953, Charlie graduated from Holy Trinity High School, now Cedar Catholic High School, Hartington. After graduation, Charlie enlisted in the United States Army and served active duty for two years and was a member of the South Dakota National Guard, Charlie Battery, for six years. Charlie married Alberta Dyke April 4, 1964, in Tyndall, S.D. The have five children, Delaine, Sharla, Gale, Chris and Kevin. Charlie started work with Welfl Construction Company April 1, 1959. Construction turned into Charlie’s life work and passion. He worked for Welfl Construction for a total of an astonishing 55 years. He worked his way through the ranks and was a long-time superintendent. In 1991, along with Harvard Schulz, Charlie purchased Welfl Construction Company, and was its president until his retirement in 2015.
Charlie was active in the Yankton community. He’s been a long-time member of the VFW, The Knights of Columbus, and The Elks. Charlie and Alberta are members of St. Benedict Catholic Church. Charlie exemplified a spirit of service. He served on the Mount Marty College Board of Trustees from 1994-1999, and was a member of the Mount Marty College Building and Grounds Committee for many years. In recognition for their service to Mount Marty College, Charlie and Alberta were both awarded honorary doctorates in 2014. Charlie was a charter member of the Crofton Lakeview Golf Course and served on its board of directors from 2000-2005. Charlie’s family will forever appreciate the positive examples he set. He exemplified a spirit of service in his willingness to donate his time, talent, and treasure to many organizations and causes. Charlie enjoyed the game of golf, playing cards, reading up on historical events, traveling, and family gatherings. He will be remembered for his selfless work ethic, his commitment to his family, and Catholic faith.
Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Alberta Bender, Yankton, S.D.; their children and families, Delaine Bender, Orlando, Fla.; Sharla (Weir) Alexander, Gainesville, Fla.; Gale (Denise) Bender, Norfolk; Chris (Andria) Bender, Sioux Falls, S.D.; and Kevin (Terra) Bender, Yankton, S.D.; his siblings, Robert (Norma) Bender and Loren (Ruth) Bender, both of St. Helena; as well as grandchildren, Skyler (Jen) Bender, Colton Alexander, Chase Alexander, Riley Bender, Jacob Bender, Ariel Bender, Malia Bender, Griffin Bender, Margot Bender, Gavin Bender; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Charlie was preceded in death by his parents, Julius and Hilaria Bender; and sister in-laws, Margene (Harlyn) Westergaard and Marlene (Jonas) Hauck.