Joan Lorene Bender was born in Goshen, Indiana on December 29, 1929, to Freda & Chauncey Neff. She had 5 siblings who all preceded her in death. While in school she was a 4-H member. She excelled in sewing and baking. She won several awards for her baking and continued sewing into her 70s. She graduated Goshen High School and shortly after graduation she began bowling. This would soon become a lifelong passion for her.
She married Creed Bender August 7, 1949. After falling in love with Colorado’s mountains and sunshine on vacation, they moved there in 1951. On August 22,1957, they welcomed their only child, Cindy into this world. In the 70's and 80's, Joan and Creed were a part of a travel club, "Ports of Call". They enjoyed getting out of the snow to their favorite warm places like Mexico, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. They continued traveling as a family as Joan’s bowling career grew.
Joan Worked as a bookkeeper at Miles Laboratories, Eaker’s Department Stores, Dutton Enterprises and Coors Ceramics. She was an avid reader and had a large collection of different books.
In 1962, Joan’s bowling career blossomed. She became a professional bowler winning several tournaments. Her first pro-tournament win was in Norwalk, California, in 1965. In 1978, she was inducted into the Denver Women’s Bowling Association Hall of Fame for superior performance. She won the DWBA Woman Bowler of the Year 3 times. In 1984, she was inducted into the Colorado State Bowling Hall of Fame for Merit of Excellence. She held numerous records.
In 1979, Joan & Creed bought a cabin in Red Feather Lakes. It quickly became a second home to them in the summer months. She enjoyed fishing with Creed at their favorite lakes in Red Feather. On weekends they would visit the cabin and enjoy fish fries, bingo, and card games with their closest friends.
In October 1986, she became a grandmother to Sabrina and then again to Alyssa in March of 1988. She was a very loving and caring grandmother. They often spent weekends in the summertime at the cabin climbing on rocks and fishing together. Both Joan and Creed had a very close relationship with their granddaughters. They traveled a few times as a family but their favorite place to spend time together was the cabin.
In 1996, she retired so Joan and Creed could travel in their new RV. They drove back and forth between here and Arizona stopping at different places along the way. They enjoyed visiting a 55+ community, Rincon Country RV Resort. They decided to sell their RV and purchase a park model there. In May of 1997 while traveling, Creed passed away. Joan became a snowbird and traveled to Tucson for 22 years. While in Tucson she became very involved in many different clubs. Joan competed in the senior Olympics, shuffleboard tournaments and was also a cheerleader for the tournaments. Even though she didn’t play, she enjoyed watching tennis. She enjoyed painting pottery and southwestern décor. She also enjoyed stamping and sewing cards and other crafts. She had a huge collection of stamps and different stamping accessories.
She absolutely loved her time in Tucson. In 2017, she made the tough decision to sell her park model and return to Colorado for good to spend time with her family.
Sadly, in May of 2005, her granddaughter Alyssa died in a car accident.
Joan got to see Sabrina get married in November of 2018 and then move into a new house in 2020. In March of 2020, she got to meet her great grandson, and light of her life, Gino. Gino loved his Gigi so very much and always loved showing her his toys, playing peekaboo, and eating popsicles together.
Joan lived a very full life surrounded by those who loved her best.
Joan is survived by her daughter Cindy (Len), granddaughter Sabrina (Justin), great grandson Gino, and several nieces and nephews & friends.
In lieu of flowers, please scatter some wildflower seeds in her name or hang a hummingbird feeder. If you wish to make a memorial gift, it can be made to Tru Community Care Hospice in Joan Benders name. 2594 Trailridge Drive East Lafayette, CO 80026.
TRU Community Care Hospice
Boulder, Lafayette and Longmont CO