Norman R. Bender of the Town of Tonawanda, a World War II veteran and retired printer, died Sunday in Odd Fellows & Rebekah Health Care Facility, Lockport, following a lengthy illness. He was 87.
He graduated from Burgard High School, where he played football and other sports.
During the Great Depression, Mr. Bender worked several jobs to help support his family. Later he went to work at Curtiss-Wright Aeronautical Corp., where he helped assemble C-46 military transports.
In World War II, he served with the U.S. Army Air Corps in the European Theater, reaching the rank of technical sergeant. He performed maintenance work on airplanes and once survived a crash while recovering a damaged plane.
After the war, Mr. Bender worked as a printer at Orffeo Printing Co. in Depew, retiring in 1983.
He was a deacon, elder and chairman of the board of University Christian Church.
He also was active for 57 years in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, serving as grand chairman of the Grand Lodge in New York State and receiving several awards from the group.
His wife, the former Eleanor Hoffman Sellers, died in 1991.
Survivors include his dear friend, Lillian Ramsay of the Town of Tonawanda; a son, Burt A. Sellers of Williamsville; two sisters, Norma Collyer of West Seneca and Esther Werman of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Cleveland Heights Christian Church, 4774 Union Road, Cheektowaga. Burial is in Elmlawn Cemetery, Town of Tonawanda.