Today (February 29) marks 20 years since my maternal grandfather, Elmer Bender, passed away at age 79. I was 18 when he died, so I remember him well. But I never knew much about the first 60 years of his life. His wife Geraldine (my Granny) is still alive—97 years young, and as beautiful as ever. She consented to my writing a tribute to Papaw here on the blog. This is the fruit of our long conversation about his life, and what shaped him into the man he was. I loved my Papaw Bender dearly, and I hope this post will help you understand why he was so special to everyone who knew him.
|The avid outdoorsman, 1934.|
|Papaw cleaning his gun, 1940s.|
|Target shooting with a muzzle loader he made himself, 1943.|
|Granny and Papaw sitting on their back stoop, 1957.|
|Me with Granny and Papaw, sometime around 1980.|