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Joan Ann (Cavanaugh) Bender, age 74, passed away peacefully with her children by her side in Winter Park, FL on May 2, 2019. She had been suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease for over 15 years.
Joan was born on Jan. 12, 1945 in Pittsburgh, PA, to John Earl and Helen (Srednicki) Cavanaugh. She was the oldest of four siblings, and helped raise her brother and two younger sisters after their mother passed away at a young age. After high school Joan graduated from St. Francis school of nursing as an RN, and went on to work as a nurse for several years in the Pittsburgh area where she met her devoted husband Robert Bender. They were married on April 4, 1970, moved to Butler, PA, and continued their loving marriage for 29 years before his death on April 19th, 1999.
Joan and Bob were active members of St. Paul's Church, and helped countless couples prepare for marriage with their involvement in Engaged Encounter. Joan lovingly raised two children, Laurel Garber and Travis Bender, and a niece Becky Denham Folk. Joan graduated from Slippery Rock University with a BSN degree. She opened the first adult day care center in Butler County after caring for her father who had early onset Alzheimer’s. She also served as president of the Alzheimer’s Association of Western PA, was a proud supporter of Butler County soccer, and a member of the GFWC.
Joan enjoyed gardening, traveling, arts and crafts, and games, but her true passion was caring for others. Joan is survived by her daughter Laurel and her husband Bear Garber of Altamonte Springs, FL; her son Travis and his wife Jennifer Bender of Butler; niece Becky Denham Folk of Tucson, AZ: grandchildren Alena and Jacob Garber; Luke, Leah, and Lainey Bender; Sister Deborah Cavanaugh; nephew Brian Recchion; and sister in law Linda Bender. She was preceded in death by her brother John Cavanaugh and her sister Patricia Denham. All of these she loved and touched deeply.
Friends will be received at the Geibel Funeral Home, 201 East Cunningham Street, Butler, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Wednesday. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, at 10:00 a.m., at St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, 128 North McKean Street, Butler. Interment will follow in Calvary Cemetery, Butler.
St. Paul's Catholic Women and Christian Mothers will meet at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Church to recite the Rosary.
In Lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Research Foundation, or the Alzheimer’s Association.