Major Wilmer L. Bender

March 08, 1932 ‒ September 09, 2017

Howard, Ohio

Ret. Salvation Army officer Major Wilmer L. Bender, 85, of Howard passed away Saturday morning, September 9, 2017 at Knox Community Hospital surrounded by family. He was born March 8, 1932 in Orwin, PA to the late Robert D. and Meta (Osman) Bender.

Wilmer was a man love God and loved others with a big heart. In his over 45 years of service in The Salvation Army he served in numerous locations throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio, including 9 years in Coshocton. He never fully retired for he would be at the Mt. Vernon Salvation Army standing kettles and serving in many different ways, one of which he loved greatly was being the Adult Class Sunday School Teacher.

Wilmer is survived by his wife, Helen C. (Martin) Bender whom he married on January 30, 1956; daughter, Susan (Terry) Wood of Cherry Hill, New Jersey ; sons, Major Robert (Karen) Bender of Painesville, Ohio and William Bender of Howard; 9 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren; sister, Catherine Sullivan of Dorchester, MA; and brother, Donald (Deanna) Smith of Clermont, CA.

In addition to his parents, Wilmer was preceded in death by brothers, Marvin and Robert Bender.

A memorial service celebrating the life of Wilmer will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at the Salvation Army, 206 East Ohio Ave., Mount Vernon.  A private burial will held in Mount Vernon Memorial Gardens.

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family by visiting

The Dowds-Snyder Funeral Home in Mount Vernon is honored to serve the family of Ret. Salvation Army officer Major Wilmer L. Bender.

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  • Major Helen and family,
    I know Major Bill is in a much better place than us but it doesn’t stop me from crying and missing him. He is still teaching the word of God because I still hear him.

    Salvation Soldier
    Lyn Durbin

  • Major Bill will be greatly missed by all of us, He was loved by all for his great love of God ,his sharing that love with everyone he came in touch with,Good job Major Bill

  • Bill was the “best man” at my parents’ (Fred and Pauline MacLean) wedding in 1954. He and Helen remained lifelong friends. What a sweet man. My deepest sympathy.

  • You were a wonderful example of Christian living, a compassionate human being, and demonstrated what a Corps Officer (Pastor) should be.

    I loved sitting under the ministry of you and Helen during our time in NEOSA and the wonderful fellowship we would have during our 2nd appointment in NEOSA.

    I pray God’s peace and comfort on Susan, Bob, Bill, and his soulmate Helen.

  • I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of Mr. Bender. He was such a special man! I was privileged to get to know while working at PNC in Krogers. He was a very bright light and will be missed. My thoughts and prayers will be with you all for peace and comfort.

  • So very sorry for your loss, I met Major Bender through a dear sweet lady I took care of “Little Mary” Spraul. He was always so attentive to her and I enjoyed his time there, he always read her scriptures from the bible and sometimes he would sing a song with her. What a Wonderful Man he was!! Now he’s another Angel in Heaven!! Blessings and Prayers to all!

  • I’m so very sorry to hear of the loss of Major Bender. He was the one who introduced my dad to the Salvation Army, while going into Buettner’s Bakery and going to the bank on East 185th street.
    My parents, George and Martha Yost, became Senior Soldiers and I became a Junior and then a Senior Soldier while Major and Mrs. Bender was at the Cleveland Temple Corps.
    We had some awesome times at the old Corps, still have the pictures and memories of our time there.
    Major Bender you will surely be missed, but heaven has gained another angel.
    And as you would always say “And now in closing!”
    You will be closing your chapter here on Earth, but will always leave a chapter in everyone’s life that you have touched.
    Sending prayers and thoughts to the family at this time of need.

  • I am very sorry to hear of the loss of Major Bender. We always looked forward to seeing him ringing the bells at Walmart. He was always so cheerful and caring. He is now ringing those bells in Heaven right next to my dear friend, Mary Spraul. May God Bless you and celebrate those great memories of your dad!

    Lisa and Jim Tharp

  • What an amazing man who triumphed through difficult early years to become a treasured servant of God. He left this world a better place. Enjoy your heavenly rewards now!

  • Major Bender was one of the kindest people I have ever known. I will always cherish the times I spent visiting with him as we sat on the porch of my uncle’s cabin at Camp Sychar. May God bless his family at this time.

  • Helen, Bob, Karen and family,

    I am so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. He always had a smile that could brighten the day for all! The Lord’s army has gained a great one! May your memories bring you comfort at this difficult time and may our Heavenly Father wrap you in his arms.


  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you Major Helen as you and your loved ones celebrate the entrance of a saint named Bill into God’s home this week. He will be missed here on earth by all of us but his constant on-fire love for God lives on in our hearts too as he was a great teacher of God’s word. He has received a due reward and we are happy for that, but we will certainly miss him on this earth. Your family is in our prayers as you deal with Earth’s loss and Heaven’s gain.

  • I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of Mr. Bender. I had the pleasure to get to know him while working at a local bank, he was a regular customer and one of my favorite people to see! He would always brighten my day and make me laugh, he was ornery! Mr. Bender made a lasting impression on me, he was someone I will never forget. My deepest condolences go out to his family during this time. Thank you for the memories and your service.

  • Bob – Sorry to hear about your Dad. We missed the calling hours because Lynn had mammogram and I lost your telephone number. Please accept this expression of sympathy. How is everything with you? Roger Buck