Bryan John Bender, age 46, of Hortonville, died unexpectedly on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, in the Town of Lawrence, WI, as a result of being hit by an intoxicated driver. His 14-year-old son was also critically injured in the crash.
Bryan was born in Grand Chute, WI, to John and Laura (VanHandel) Bender on August 28, 1976. In his youth Bryan spent much time in the outdoors hunting, fishing, camping and snowmobiling with his parents and brother Dan, his best friend. His love of the outdoors was deeply ingrained and carried with him throughout his life. The Bender boys were always planning for the next fishing or hunting adventure.
On May 15, 2004, Bryan married Jessica Weiss (of Oshkosh) at St. Thomas More Parish in Appleton, WI. The two went on to build a beautiful life together and have two amazing children, Griffin age 14, and Reese age 12, who were his pride and joy.
If you asked anyone, they would tell you Bryan was as rock solid a man as they come; devoted to his family, incredibly hard working, and always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed it. He was a valued leader at 4imprint in Oshkosh, where he worked as the GM of their distribution/production facility. On evenings and weekends, Bryan could be found at the ball diamonds helping to coach his son and his son's baseball team, on the bleachers cheering for his daughter and her softball or volleyball team, taking care of the family's home, or in the woods patiently awaiting a monster buck to come into view.
Bryan is survived by his wife, Jessica; two children, Griffin and Reese; parents, John and Laura; brother Dan (Stephanie); nieces, Lilly and Ally; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
He is preceded in death by his grandparents Lawrence & Lorraine Bender and Robert & Marion VanHandel, his Godparents Richard Bender and Shirly Bender-Gehrt, as well as beloved cousins, aunts and uncles.
Visitation will be held from 4-7 PM on Thursday, April 27, 2023, at Valley Funeral Home of Appleton, 2211 N. RICHMOND ST., APPLETON, WI 54911 with a Vigil Service following at 7 PM. Please wear your Hortonville Polar Bear or red and white apparel in honor of Coach Bryan.
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated for Bryan at 11 AM on Friday, April 28, 2023, at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Parish, N2385 Municipal Dr., Greenville, WI 54942. Family and friends may visit at the church 9-10:45 AM. For those unable to attend in person, the Mass will be Livestreamed on the St. Mary - Greenville website or by visiting the following link: Bryan Bender Funeral Mass. Livestreaming will begin 10 minutes before mass. The Committal will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in honor of Bryan to help offset Griffin's on-going medical expenses.
Bryan's family would like to extend their sincere appreciation to the following police and fire departments that responded to the crash and made every attempt to save Bryan and worked quickly to rescue Griffin, who was trapped in the vehicle: Hobart Lawrence PD, Brown County Sheriff's Department, DePere PD, Wisconsin State Patrol, Wrightstown PD, Lawrence Fire Department, DePere Fire and Rescue, Ashwaubenon Rescue, and the Brown County Communications Center. They'd also like to thank the crew of Eagle 3 who safely flew Griffin to the hospital, as well as the receiving trauma team who took quick action to save his life.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Bryan J. Bender, please visit our floral store.