Posted: October 22nd, 2019

June 3, 1942 – October 16, 2019

Bruce grew up near the farming community of Hilda, AB, the first-born son of George & Elsie. Farm life included many challenges notwithstanding frigid winters spent guiding siblings (Dennis Bender, Marian Albrecht & Pam) to school on sleds pulled by less than cooperative horses. These experiences helped shape the resolute and responsible man he would become.

At the age of eight he became fascinated with airplanes, a passion which defined his life. Always adventurous with a definite rebellious streak, Bruce began his adult life with Marilynn in 1962, a loving partnership that unfolded over 57 years of marriage. Work as a young man at a chemical plant laboratory preceded a return to formal education at the age of 26 and a move to Edmonton to attend the University of Alberta with 2 young daughters (Susan Witt MacPhail, Naomi Bodnar) and a son (Kevin Bender) on the way. Tight budgets, long hours of studying and a cadre of younger university friends, balanced with a growing young family, remarkably led to a Bachelor of Science Degree and a career in management with the City of Edmonton for nearly three decades. Always an avid learner, reader and lover of music, Bruce continued to expand his range of interests after university to include photography, downhill skiing and riding his Harley Davidson. He was never afraid to try anything, at least once and often preferred the road less travelled!

Throughout his lifetime, Bruce savored and excelled in the building, painting and flying of complex and beautiful replica radio-controlled aircraft. Many hours were spent in his shop, at the field flying and travelling throughout North America to compete with his beloved planes. Bruce was always willing to share his well-honed expertise in the shop or over a cup of coffee. Bruce and Marilynn developed and maintained many deep friendships with their amazing family of “flying” friends. Bruce left us unexpectedly and unwillingly, with planes unfinished, jays unfed, roses not wintered and beloved pets devastated. Bruce will be deeply missed by his 10 grandchildren (Ivan and Lara Witt; Venture and Dylan MacPhail; Arden, Ethan and Sophie Bodnar; Kamden, Hudson and Isabella Bender) and his children’s spouses (Calvin MacPhail, Gene Bodnar, Jill Bender) with whom he shared his passion, intelligence and a strong opinion or two. His quiet steadfast love and strength will be forever remembered by Marilynn, his children and Chipper.

“Old pilots never die; they just pass on to a new plane.”

No funeral service by his request, however, a celebration of life will be planned for a later date. To send condolences to the family, please visit


Funeral Home & Crematorium


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One Condolence for “BENDER, BRUCE WAYNE”

  1. Glenda Syrota says:

    Sorry to hear of the loss of your dad Susan.Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.