Christmas 03

Robert "Bob" A. Bender

September 23, 1951 ~ September 11, 2021 (age 69)


Robert A. (Bob) Bender, age 69, of Rock Falls, IL passed away at 3:03 pm Saturday, September 11, 2021, at Mark Twain State Park in Florida, MO.

The family will hold a celebration of life service on Bob's Birthday, Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 5:00pm at the Lions Shelter at Lowell Park in Dixon, IL.  Pastor Teri Porter from Abiding Word Church will officiate.

Cremation arrangements are being handled by Smith Funeral Home & Chapel.

Robert was born on September 23, 1951, in Dixon, IL the son of Alan and Helen (Wolf) Bender.

He was united in marriage to Shirley Howard on March 20, 2003, in Denver, CO.

Survivors include his wife, Shirley Bender of Rock Falls, IL, daughter, Heather Waninger (Todd) of Rock Falls, IL, step-son, Nickolas Howard of Sarasota, FL, brothers, Earl James Bender of Excelsior Springs, MO and Roger Clayton (Cindy) of Lyndon, IL; grandhildren, Bailley Waninger, Morgan Waninger and Joshua Hanks and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Mr. Bender was preceded in death by a step-daughter, Misty Howard and step-son, Teddy Howard.

Robert graduated from Dixon High School in the class of 1969.
Professionally Robert worked as an over the road truck driver.

Bob and Shirley were presently working as camp hosts at the Mark Twain Lake State Park in Florida, MO, where Bob enjoyed meeting and visiting with all the campers. Robert had also portrayed Santa for several years in Texas at a Bass Pro and for several private parties. This is where his big heart for children came into play and being a member of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santa's. He was an avid fan of the Denver Broncos and enjoyed fishing and truck driving.  Bob's biggest love was his family and the time spent with his grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Smith Funeral Home & Chapel to assist the family with funeral expenses.

Online condolences may be made to the family on Robert's memorial page at  


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert "Bob" A. Bender, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life
September 23, 2021

5:00 PM
Lowell Park
2114 Lowell Park
Dixon, IL 61021

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