Raymond Arthur Bender passed away peacefully on Wednesday, January 10, 2024 surrounded by family.
Ray was born February 3, 1929 in Massillon, Ohio. The middle child of five, he was the son of Raymond and Blanche Bender. Ray attended and graduated from Washington High School in Massillon. Post graduation, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving in Germany during the Korean war. After leaving the military, Ray continued his employment at what is today known as Norfolk Southern Railway. During his time on the railroad, he was an active member of the United Transportation Union, serving over 20 years as their local chairman. He retired from the railroad after 43 years. In 1960, while working full-time on the railroad, Ray started the company, Speedie Septic and Sewer.
On March 12, 1953, undoubtedly the best day of his life, Ray married his true love, Mary Baker. They would spend the next 70+ years together building a loving family that now stretches four generations, creating memories that span nearly three quarters of a century. Mary was the inspiration of Ray’s life and his partner in all he did. He would frequently refer to her as his “bride”. The enduring, unconditional love they felt for one another was visible to anyone who shared their presence. Often, Ray and Mary would be found side-by-side holding hands.
As illustrated above, Ray’s main hobby in life was a second job. His work ethic and drive were unmatched. At the age of 91, he could still be found working for the betterment of Speedie Septic. All free time away from work, Ray spent with family. He was an avid fan of any sporting event featuring a grandchild or great-grandchild. Ray was a long-standing member of St. John United Church of Christ in Strasburg. He was also a lifetime member of the local American Legion. Because of his humble beginnings, Ray was a generous person; never hesitating to help those in need. His commitment to his family never faltered. Ray will continue to be the cornerstone of the family he and Mary built. He will be, and already is, missed by so many.
Ray is survived by his wife, Mary Bender; his children, Greg Bender, and Nancy (Andrew) Cregan; his grandchildren, Elaine Averbukh, Nicole (William) Jones, Sarah (RJ) Sanfrey, Camaren Bender, Matthew Bender, Nicolette, Melissa, Andrew and Ethan Cregan; and his great-grandchildren, Natasha and Gabriel Averbukh, Thomas Jones, and Jacob and Maggie Sanfrey.
Ray was preceded in death by his beloved son, Jeffrey Bender, with whom he has been reunited. He is also preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Blanche; and his siblings, Stella (Paul) Hartong, Virginia (Elmer) McElhaney, Gene Bender, Arden (Frances) Bender.
“When it’s too tough for others, it’s just right for us!” - Raymond A. Bender
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, January 16th starting at 11:00 am in the St. John United Church of Christ, Strasburg with Rev. Jason Rissler officiating. Interment will be in the Grandview Union Cemetery. The family will be greeting friends at the church on Monday from 4:00 to 7:00 pm. Those wishing to express their fondest memories of Ray may do so by visiting the online obituaries link on the funeral home’s website.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. John United Church of Christ at 516 N. Wooster Ave. Strasburg, Ohio 44680 or to Doctors Without Borders USA, P.O. Box 5030 Hagerstown, MD 21741-5030.