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Obituary: Mary Virginia Bender

Mary “Ginger” Bender passed away peacefully on Friday, April 22, 2011. Close family members were by her side.

Ginger was married to the late Welcome William Bender Jr. In their later years, they lived at Carol Woods Retirement Community in Chapel Hill, N.C. She and Welcome also shared in the lives of communities in Chapel Hill; Santa Barbara, Calif.; Littleton, Colo.; and Baltimore, Md.. Ginger was born in St. Joseph, Miss.

Ginger is survived by her children, Deborah, Welcome, Rebecca, Mary, Janet, Heidi and Greg, and their families; and her sister, Janet Priebe Peters, of Liberty, Miss.

Ginger’s first love was her children. A natural teacher, she nurtured their curiosity and creativity. She shared with them her sense of form and color. She also included each child in daily responsibilities, building their confidence and independence.

Her love for her children was closely followed by a love for flowers. Each of her homes was graced by a rose garden. Her favorite among them was the lovely strong-stemmed Peace Rose. Its large, beautiful blossom edged in pink echoed her strength and beauty.

In Chapel Hill, she was an active volunteer at the N.C. Botanical Garden. She assisted in garden tours and in the tending of outdoor woodland plants. Throughout her life, she was also an active volunteer in the communities in which she lived. She led neighborhood troops with the Girl Scouts of America. She also served many hours helping children develop their literacy skills. Her love of classical music was cultivated through her work as a docent with the community symphonies.

Mom gave us gifts as people that we will value for a lifetime. She was loved by all and will be dearly missed.

A memorial service celebrating the life of Mary “Ginger” Bender, along with that of her life’s partner and late husband, Welcome, is planned for mid-June.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Mother’s name to the N.C. Botanical Garden, c/o The University of North Carolina, CB 3375, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, or ncbg.unc.edu

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