20130712_083254944_2Catherine C. (DeFazio) Bender was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She was loved by all who knew her.

Catherine was born November 21, 1937 at the family home in Morrisville, PA. She was the daughter of Joseph and Mary DeFazio. Catherine grew up in Bristol, PA. Catherine was raised with three siblings Joe, Bob, and Rosemarie. 

Catherine attained the Highest Academic Average at St. Ann’s school in Bristol. Catherine graduating from Bristol High School in 1955, where she was voted Most Popular and Assistant Editor-in-Chief for her high school newspaper, “The Rambler.” Catherine was captain of the color guard and secretary of the “Tri-Hi-Y club and Student Court.

While raising five children Catherine earned her Associates in Science of Nursing (1973) from Bucks County Community College on a full scholarship. Catherine maintained a 4.0 GPA and continuously made the Dean’s List while attaining her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (1979) from College of New Jersey – graduated Magna Cum Laude. She earned her Master of Arts in Public Health Administration (1990) from Rider University – graduated with Distinction. PhD in Health Administration (2008) from Warren University.

 A good friend to all who knew her Catherine had several very close friends. Her childhood friends were Hilda Hamm, Joyce Rauch, Joyce and Delores Rago other later in life her close friends included Katherine Cox, June Scott, Nancy Singer, Kathleen Coughlin, and Kay Taddei.

On September 21, 1963 Catherine exchanged wedding vows with Richard Bender at St. Ann’s Church of Bristol, PA and began fulfilling her dream of a house full of love and laughter. Catherine was a devoted mother, committed to making her new family happy and was blessed with five children, Maria, Carolyn, David, Diane and JoAnn. One of Catherine’s greatest gift came from spending time with each of her grandchildren, Ashley, Caitlyn, Melissa, Leah, Heather, Joseph and Joshua.

Catherine enjoyed working showing a strong work ethic, Catherine worked diligently and did her best to succeed in her career. Her primary occupation was as a Registered Nurse and all throughout Catherine’s career in nursing she was a patient advocate. Catherine was a a team player, doing what was necessary in order to get the job done.

Catherine enjoyed learning, traveling with her husband and spending twas a doer and always actively involved in professional and community organizations. In high school, Catherine was a member of the Student Court, “TRI-HI-Y,” and “The Rambler.”. Throughout her later years, Catherine was a volunteer for the Red Cross and a bereavement counselor at her parish St. John the Evangelist in Yardley.

Catherine faith was important and she took great pride in upholding her beliefs through action. She took an active role in her community, a Parish member of her church St. John the Evangelist since 1977. Though she never set out to gain individual recognition, Catherine was given accolades for her many and varied accomplishments throughout her life. Some of her most prestigious awards included an Annual Graduate Award in public affairs and human services administration for outstanding scholarship from Rider University, leadership abilities and devotion to excellence in the field of public affairs and human services administration in 1990, and Phi Beta Kappa from Bucks County Community College.

      Catherine enjoyed traveling with her husband because it was a chance for her to renew and relax, to visit new places and experience new things. Her favorite vacations included Hawaii and Italy.

      When Catherine’s finally decided to retire in 2008, she was well prepared. Catherine remained in Yardley, PA in the house she raised her children in. In retirement, she found new pleasure in obtaining her Ph D from Warren National University and also volunteered for the Red Cross. Even in retirement, Catherine continued to stay in touch with her old friends while making plenty of new acquaintances. Catherine remained active in her community and felt fulfilled with the opportunities retirement offered her.

       Catherine fought a brave battle against cancer. She is survived by her husband Richard; her children Maria, Carol (Chuck), David, Diane (Chris), and JoAnn (Joe); her grandchildren Ashley, Caitlyn, Melissa, Casey, Leah, Heather, Joseph, and Josh; and her brothers Joseph and Robert, and her sisters Rosemarie, Loretta, and Charlotte.

      Simply stated, Catherine was a generous and kind person, an individual who will for all time be remembered by her family and friends as being a caring and giving person and someone who was a vital part of their lives. Catherine leaves behind her a legacy of life-long friendships and many cherished memories. Everyone whose life she touched will always remember Catherine.