It is with deepest sadness that we announce the passing of our mother, Henrietta Bender. After recently celebrating 100 years of a wonderful life journey with friends and family, Henrietta (nee Jeffer) Bender went to our Lord on May 6, 2018. Henrietta was born March 20, 1918 to Garrett and Petronella Jeffer who had emigrated from Holland 5 years earlier. She grew up in a loving Christian family of 5 brothers and a sister in Midland Park, New Jersey. Henrietta married the love of her entire life, Austin Bender, in 1940, together raising a family of two sons and a daughter in Ridgewood, New Jersey. After Austin's death in 1964 Henri, as she was known to Bradenton friends, supported herself working across a variety of businesses from being a hair stylist, to pharmacy sales, car dealer customer service, and women's fashion sales. Always loving the outdoors and bright sunshine, she moved to Bradenton, Florida in 1996 where she continued in her faith at the Bradenton Christian Reformed Church until her passing.
Henrietta loved life and was a generous, inspiring, and encouraging friend to many. She had a zest for trying something new, was an avid sports fan, and was never afraid to speak her opinion - letting everyone know exactly how she felt about a politician, a ballplayer's antics, or someone's behavior. She was passionate about her family, her church, and her friends. Her door was always open for a guest. She was proud of the achievements and personalities of her family and friends and treasured their long-term relationships. She will be long remembered for her determined nature and courageous, can-do approach to just about any situation she ran into. She belied her age and set a great example to all of us on how to gracefully age.
Over 40 friends and family recently celebrated her 100th birthday with a whirlwind of activity including Saturday dinner at Pier 22, Sunday brunch on a boat, and afternoon tea at Freedom Village. Henrietta is survived by her brother Herman, sons Craig and Dirk, daughter Petronell, grandchildren Craig, Geoffrey, Austin, Connie, Candace, Nicholas, Erica, and Carina; 11 great grandchildren; three great-great grandchildren, and many, many dear friends. The family wishes to extend heartfelt thanks all of those friends and individuals who helped her and cared for her over the last few years of her life.