Obituary of Loneita L. Bender
Loneita L. Bender passed peacefully December 19 with family by her side after a stroke. She was born Loneita Fleming August 9, 1927 in Locust Grove, OK to Roy and Matilda Fleming, Neita was the second oldest of nine children, helping to scrape out an existence on a small farm with no running water. Trips to the well were made daily and the kids carried their shoes to school in order to “save” them. Nevertheless, she had many happy memories of family get-togethers and water fights at the creek.
The family first saw California in 1942 during the Dust Bowl. When her parents returned to Oklahoma, she and her sister Loraine stayed behind. She married her first husband Denton Harguess, had daughter Norma, buried her young husband, and survived TB. A kindly neighbor knew a young man and arranged a meeting for the widow. Irvin Bender remembers the first time he saw the slender girl on the landing of her upstairs apartment. He called them the “sacred stairs.” Six months later, they married. Two more daughters followed. Irvin and Neita built a successful real estate firm together. In later years, they traveled the world and joined the Woodbridge Golf and Country Club where they played golf and tennis. With frugality a shared value, even ten-cent bets on the golf course inspired passionate competition.
Active until the end, Mom’s hole-in-one with her eyes closed (7th hole of the Lake Course) is family legend. She also feared snakes and once killed one on a family camping trip with an expert chuck of a rock. For her 60th birthday, she treated the extended family to an Alaskan cruise. She stayed close to the Fleming side of the family, helping to organize many family reunions over the years. When golf and tennis became too challenging, she sewed and embroidered for Gracepoint Church Annual Craft Fair.
She is survived by daughters Norma Brandt and son-in-law Gary Brandt, Kathy Fleming, Cindie Bender, six grandchildren, and many great and great-great grandchildren, her sisters Wilma Smith and Linda Goldberg. She is preceded in death by her husband of sixty two years, Irvin Bender her siblings, Loraine Heil, Laverne Gunther, Chris Allen, Helen Rice, and William and Kenneth Fleming.
The family would like to thank the many care givers at The Commons on Thornton, where Mom spent the last year and a half of her life. Graveside service will be held at Lodi Memorial Cemetery on 5750 E. Pine Street, Lodi December 28, 2 pm. If you wish to make contributions in her name, her favorite charity was Gracepoint Church, 801 S Lower Sacramento Road, Lodi, CA 95242.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Loneita Bender, please visit Tribute Store