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Thursday, November 10, 2022
12:00 - 1:00pm (Eastern time)
Don Bender was born in Manhattan on April 25, 1933. The youngest child of Morris and Gussie (Saks) Bender. As a young child Don lived in Nyack, New York near his father's hat factory with his older Brother Stanley and his older sister Gladys and his dog Sussie. Sussie went everywhere with Don. While he was still young, his father built 2 factories, one in Manhattan and the other in Brooklyn, and the family moved to Bensonhurst on 76 St. and Bay Parkway to be closer to family. Don attended PS128 and Seth Low Jr. High School. He also developed a love for his Dodgers and his hero, Jackie Robinson.
The family eventually moved to Long Beach, Long Island where Don went to High School. At Long Beach High, Don excelled in his class and was moved ahead in grade level and graduated early. He also ran track where his main events were the Quarter Mile and Hurdles. At Long Beach High, he met his best friends Anthony Patti and Joe Carlo. Anthony and Joe introduced Don to boxing and Don eventually boxed as a featherweight in the Golden Gloves.
After high school Don went to Parsons School of Design where he studied Illustration. During his time at Parsons, Don went to a party before the annual Madrigal Ball above the San Remo Cafe in Greenwich Village where he first spotted the love of his life, Judy Barrist. At the party he told his friends he saw the girl he was going to marry. When they got to the ball, Don sat down next to Judy and they started talking. Soon after, Don started visiting Judy every weekend in Philadelphia. Three months after they met, Don and Judy were engaged on May 19th and they were married November 20th, 1954, 68 years ago.
After they were married, Don and Judy lived in Brooklyn, New York, moved to Long Beach, Long Island, and in 1963, they moved to Philadelphia eventually settling in Havertown where they raised their 3 children Mindy, Ronni, and Larry.
Don's earlier career started at Hansons Music on 59th Street as a designer of sheet music covers, Photo-offset of NY as a paste-up artist, and Uniform Center of America as a Designer and a Photographer. When he moved from N.Y. to Philadelphia, Don started his own business called Mr. Menu and ran that for a couple of years. After closing the business, he went to work for The Franklin Mint as a designer and in 1967 he started working in publishing as the Art Director at J.B. Lippincott in Philadelphia. In 1978 Don moved to Crown publishers in New York as a Creative Director, and finally finished his long career as a Vice President and Creative Director for Random House Publishing. During his 30 plus year career, he worked with many noted authors, artists, public figures, musicians and photographed public figures, Jimmy Stewart, Stephanie Powers, Jaclyn Smith, and Brooke Shields, Cornelia Wallace, Jim Erwin, Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King, and met musical legends, Chuck Berry and Boy George.
But the most important thing in his life was his family. His wife of 68 years, Judy, his children Mindy and her husband Marc, Ronni and her husband Rick, and Larry and his wife Debi. His 6 Grandchildren, Scott and his wife Megan, Karli and her fiancé, Brett, Ashley and her husband Mike, Emily, Hayley, and Ruby, and his 3 Great Grandchildren Tela, Sloane, and Miles.
Family and friends are invited to his Graveside Service Thursday, November 10, 2022, 12:00pm Har Nebo Cemetery 6061 Oxford Ave. Phila PA 19149. Shiva to be observed at the late residence. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.