WILMINGTON — Robert Pharr Bender, 89, of Wilmington, N.C., departed this life to be in the loving, caring arms of our Lord on Oct. 16, 2016.
Robert (known by family and close friends as Bobby) was blessed to have grown up in a large family, where he was next to the youngest of 11 children born to Carl D. Bender Sr. and Bessie Lee Davis Bender, also of Wilmington, N.C.
His love for his family, and his fellow man, was always obvious. Anyone would tell you he was one of the kindest and most honest souls to ever walk our earth. Robert always felt unconditional love for others, and he had an humble strength and honesty that is uncommon in our world. He had a rare clarity about life, and it allowed him to provide unconditional love and acceptance to others. His strongest characteristic was faithfulness — to our Heavenly Father first — and through that, to family, friends and to many countless others.
Robert attended New Hanover High School until he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and proudly served his country during World War II. After returning to Wilmington, he obtained his GED and went on to be an attendee of the first class of Wilmington College (now UNCW) in 1946. Robert was the last surviving charter member of Myrtle Grove Presbyterian Church, founded in March 1945. He loved his church dearly, and contributed to the birth and growth of this Church, and still attended as he was able.
Robert is survived by his wife of 65 years, Ernestine, daughter, Jennifer Bender Bright, daughter, Bonita Bender Farriss, son-in-law, Michael Kent Farriss, and four grandchildren by marriage. Wilmington and the world are in deficit without him, but both are far richer from the gift of his love and his character.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016, at Andrews Mortuary (Valley Chapel) on South College Road. The funeral service will take place at Myrtle Grove Presbyterian Church on Piner Road, at 2:00 pm on Friday, Oct. 21, 2016. Burial will follow at Greenlawn Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to National Stroke Association or Charlotte Cocker Rescue, P. O. Box 1050, Kannapolis, NC 28081.