John Lewis Bender, age 91, passed away on August 13, 2012 at The Virginian in Fairfax, Virginia. A resident of Bethesda, Maryland for 54 years, he was born in Princeton, New Jersey on October 13, 1920. A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy, he received a BA and an MA from Princeton University.
During World War II, John received a direct commission into the Coast Guard. He spent most of the war afloat and was the anti-submarine warfare officer credited with the 1944 sinking of the German U-boat U-550, recently discovered off Nantucket. He received the Bronze Star for his part in this action. In 1945, he took command of a Coast Guard cutter off Okinawa and was responsible for shooting down two Kamikaze aircraft. After the war, he remained in the Coast Guard reserve.
John retired in 1976 after 38 years of federal government service. He held two overseas assignments at the U.S. Embassy in Manila and Tel Aviv.
In retirement, John was still busy. He was a National Park Service “Volunteer of the Year” at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial. He also worked at the Kensington Day Care, taught reading and sailing, and was a volunteer driver for the American Cancer Society. He had a life-long love of sailing and kept a boat at the Washington Marina for years.
John was predeceased by his wife, Fredrika Safford Pratt (1999) and their daughter, Susan Pratt Bruch (1998).
He is survived by sons, John Frederick (McLean, VA), James Harold (Tampa, FL), his daughter, Margaret Elizabeth Butler (Hopedale, MA), nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
Friends and family are invited to a reception at Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM on Monday, 20 August, 2012. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made in Captain Bender’s honor to the American Diabetes Association.