Obituary for Thomas Bender
Thomas (Tom) Emil Bender went to be with his Lord and Savior in his home on June 12, 2017 at the age of 79. He was born in Lodi in September 1937 to Emil and Viola Bender. He is survived by his loving wife of 59 years Martha (Mardy) Seifert; daughter, Sherry Williams, son in law, Jim Captein (Jacquie); grandchildren, Nichole Flem “Jeff”, Meridith Schulz “Wayd”, Michael Costa, and Nancy Captein “Adam” ; his great grandchildren, Waylon, Lauren, Cali, and Elise; and his siblings Don Bender, Judy Koojman, and Linda Vepford. He is preceded in death by his parents and daughter Patricia Captein.
Tom grew up in Lodi and was very involved in the Boy Scouts and 4-H where he met the love of his life Martha at the age of 13. They married in 1957. He was a lifetime member of the Zion Reformed Lutheran Church where he sang in the choir and served as a deacon. Tom graduated from Lodi High in 1955. He joined the US Navy in 1956-1958. Following his military service he began working for his father welding grape gondolas. In 1959 he started his career by working for the Mokelumne Fire District. In January 1963 he joined the Waterloo Morada Fire Department as a Battalion Chief and was promoted to chief in January 1966. In his 35 years of service, Chief Bender also served as the fire mutual aid coordinator. His other accomplishments include his appointment to the First Fire Science Advisory Board at Delta College in 1967 to the county 911 Steering Committee in 1970 where he remained until its implementation in 1985. He also distinguished himself professionally by being elected chairman of the County Fire Cheifs Association in 1971 and Fire Operational Area Coordinator for San Joaquin County in 1986. In 1993 he received a Governors Citation for participation in the Operational Area Satellite Information Project and Certificate of Appreciation from the county board of supervisors in recognition of his contribution to the betterment of life in San Joaquin County. Through his outstanding work with the Waterloo Morada fire Department, Chief Bender gained the respect of his peers, allied fire protection agencies and community. He served and upheld the highest ideals of professionalism in his field. He retired a dedicated and highly honored profession public servant as the Waterloo Morada Fire Department Chief. After retirement he worked part time a few additional years for the Office of Emergency Services. Tom was a gifted hunter, fisherman, enjoyed traveling with his best friend…his wife of 59 years. Tom’s greatest loves were his wife, family, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Throughout his life he farmed grapes and cherries. In lieu of flowers, Memorial contributions can be made in his name to Hospice of San Joaquin County or Zion Lutheran Church in memory of Tom. His family is thankful for your love and support. A memorial service will be held at a later date TBA in the Lodi News Sentinel . Funeral arrangements by The Lodi Funeral Home 725 South Fairmont Dr., Lodi, CA. thelodifuneralhome.com