William “Bill” Claire Bender

William “Bill” Claire Bender

William “Bill” Claire Bender


William “Bill” Claire Bender – dedicated son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, veteran, and active community member passed away on Dec. 20, 2022.

Bill was born to Clem Hugh and Mary Rita (Greene) Bender on Feb. 7, 1930, in Dayton Township, Iowa County, Iowa. He graduated from Millersburg High School in 1947 and received his Associate of Arts degree from Indian Hills Community College in 1986.

Bill was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1951 and was deployed to Korea, serving for 18 months before his honorable discharge. He married Margaret Elizabeth Sieren from Sigourney, Iowa, in October of 1954. Bill and Margaret farmed in Iowa County before buying what would become their home near Keswick. They raised their family and farmed there for 49 years until they moved to Sigourney in 2011. Following Margaret’s lead, Bill also worked in the U.S. Postal Service in several local towns, finally serving as Postmaster at the Keswick Post Office.

Throughout his life, Bill was an active member of his community, serving on several district and area school boards; parish councils; his local American Legion Post 319 in Keswick; the VFW in Williamsburg; the What Cheer Opera House Board; and most recently the Sigourney City Council as a Council Member at Large. He was active in the American Legion in Keswick for 70 years. He also received an “Ambassador for Peace” Proclamation from the Republic of Korea as a Korean War Veteran.

One of his favorite pastimes was “putzing” (as Margaret referred to it) with his restored 1930 Model A and his two vintage Minneapolis Moline tractors. It was a special treat for family members of all ages to prepare these vehicles for the 4th of July celebrations, turning everyone into the pit crew, ensuring everything was parade-ready and sparkling clean, with flags attached. Small children and aging adults alike became skilled negotiators to determine seat assignments; the place of honor was always the rumble seat of the Model A.

Bill also brought his passion for farming when they moved to town. He planted a full garden that produced enough harvest for the winter. He also enjoyed a good story or two and until recently was a regular at the coffee klatches around town.

Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Margaret; sons, Doug Bender and wife Joyce of Sigourney, Iowa, and Terry Bender and wife Ann of Overland Park, Kan.; daughters, Susan Bender and husband David Shorr of Stevens Point, Wis., and Mary Jo (Bender) Feeney and husband Joe Feeney of Shadow Hills, Calif.; nine grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; sisters, Catherine (Bender) Rustemier from Satellite Beach, Fla., Monica (Bender) Flynn from Denver, Colo., Donna (Bender) Erickson from Rockledge, Fla., Chris (Bender) Gallin from Davenport, Iowa; sister-in-law, Joan (Bollinger) Sieren from Sigourney, Iowa.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Clem and Mary Bender of Sigourney, Iowa; brothers-in-law, Tom Flynn, Harley Erickson, Bill Rustemier, Kenneth Sieren, Francis Sieren and John Sieren; and sisters-in-law, Mary Louise Sieren and Dolly Sieren.

Funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 27, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Sigourney, with the Rev. Robert Lathrop presiding. Burial with military rites will be at Pleasant Grove Cemetery in Sigourney. Visitation will be from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 26, at Powell Funeral Home in Sigourney, where there will be a vigil service and rosary at 4 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Essence of Life Hospice, Manor House Care Center or the Keswick American Legion Post 319. Cards and memorials may be mailed to Powell Funeral Home, P.O. Box 226, Sigourney, IA 52591. Powell Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Sigourney is caring for Bill and his family. Tributes may be made at www.powellfuneralhomes.com.

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