It is with bittersweet joy that the family of Sharon Bender announces her passing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, at 79 years of age.
Sharon was born in Newton, Kansas on August 1, 1938 to Marvin and Frieda Franz. She graduated from Newton High School in 1956 and was married to Darrel Bender of Moundridge, Kansas, on April 13, 1957, at First Mennonite Church. The couple had two children, Jolene and Kevin, also born in Newton.
As a teenager and young homemaker in Newton, Sharon worked at Woolworth's, Cunningham's, and as a telephone operator. She also volunteered as a special needs teacher for grade-school aged children. The family moved to Houston, Texas in 1969 when Darrel pursued an opportunity in the mobile home business. Sharon launched into a 25 year career in the oil and gas industry, in Houston and then in Tulsa when the couple moved to Sand Springs, Oklahoma in 1993. She retired in 2000 and continued with multiple hobbies. Sewing, quilting, knitting, painting, cooking and gardening were her main interests as she freely shared her giftings with family and friends. She attended ladies' bible study, became a certified Master Gardener, was a docent at Linnaeus Garden, was a Creek County 4-H judge, a knitting instructor, and she kept the most beautiful backyard in all of Sand Springs.
In March 2015, Sharon was diagnosed with a GBM - an aggressive form of brain cancer. She underwent surgery as well as multiple forms of treatment. Throughout the entire 3-year process, she accepted the diagnosis as God's will for her life. While difficult to understand His plan for her, she continued to smile at the future as she beat all the statistical odds of this terminal form of cancer. Although physical impairment presented itself, her mind and memory continued to be as sharp as a tack. Great thankfulness goes out to all who prayed and cared for her, as we all had the opportunity to love on her far longer than expected.
Sharon will be lovingly remembered by her husband of 60 years, Darrel, daughter Jolene Bender Wykes and her husband Reed Wykes, of Cypress, Texas; and son Kevin Bender, and his wife Marla Bender of Tulsa, Oklahoma, 6 grandchildren, and 6, with more on the way, great-grandchildren.
Proverbs 31:25 perfectly depicts the life of Sharon 'She is clothed in strength and dignity'.
A memorial service celebrating her life will be held on Friday, March 30, 2018 at 11:00 am at Kirk of the Hills 4102 E. 61st Street, Tulsa, Oklahoma
The family would like to recognize the outstanding service and loving support of Grace Hospice of Tulsa.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the following:
The Musella Foundation - virtualtrials.com/bender
They provide direct financial assistance to GBM patients for expensive chemotherapy drugs
Kirk of the Hills - Tuesday Women's bible study