Carol J. Bender

Carol J. (Fletcher) Bender, 88, of Wickford, RI, died early Wednesday morning, September 9, 2020. Born in Providence, RI, she was the wife of the late Robert L. Bender, and the daughter of the late Kenneth S. Fletcher and Joan (Quinlan) Fletcher. After her birth she was brought home to Wickford where she lived the rest of her life.

From her family home on Phillips Street, she attended Wickford Elementary School and North Kingstown High School (now the Wickford Middle School), and graduated from the University of Rhode Island, and married Bob. After they married, they made their home in a house in Wickford built by Bob and his father, in what was then just a cow pasture and apple orchard. There they would live for the rest of their lives, raising their three children and enjoying many good friends and neighbors through the years. When the children became old enough Carol began teaching at Wickford Elementary, where, for over 32 years she taught many generations of children who called Wickford their childhood home. She developed lasting and lifelong friendships full of enjoyment and laughter with many of her fellow teachers, some of whom cared about her as family as she grew older. After Bob passed away, the friends she had made, some old and some new, helped her in ways large and small to the deep gratitude of her children, to remain in her home, the home that had been an anchor for both her and her family for almost six decades.

In recent years Carol kept a poem that read in part: “Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way you always used. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be the household word that it always has. Let it be spoken without effort. Life means all that it has ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity.” It is certain that she would like her family and friends to embrace that in their hearts.

Carol is survived by her children: Thomas R. Bender & his wife Alana I. Thorpe-Bender of Pawtuxet, RI; Daniel J. Bender & his wife Maryellen of Avon, CT, their children, Amanda, Ashley (Bender) Kowal and her husband Steve and their three children, Samantha, Stefani, and Lily; and JoAnn Spragg & her husband James of Westerville, OH, and their children, Ben, and his wife Bridget, Lindsay Harris and her husband Jake, and Jenny. Carol is also survived by her sister Susan S. Champlin of North Kingstown, RI and her brother Kenneth S. Fletcher, Jr. of Sacramento, CA. She was predeceased by sisters Jane Palmer and Ann Gamache. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, October 2, 2020 at 11:00 am in St. Bernard Church, 275 Tower Hill Road, Wickford. Due to Covid-19 restrictions calling hours prior to the funeral mass will not be available. Carol will be buried alongside Bob in the RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Exeter. It is her wish that in lieu of flowers, gifts in her memory be made to the MJP (Michael J. Palmer) Memorial Fund, c/o Tom Palmer, 26 Cartier Street, Cranston, RI 02902. They would be greatly appreciated. 

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