Jane Lea Bender

Jane Lea (Gagelman) Bender, La Mesa, CA, died of cancer on Aug. 24, 2013, at the Kaiser Zion Hospital in San Diego, CA, at the age of 80, surrounded by her family. Janie was born in Great Bend, Kansas, to Velmar E. "Barney" and Katherine Jane "Kate" Gagelman. She moved to Hays with her parents when her father purchased the Ford automobile agency in Hays, known as Gagelman Motor Co. She graduated from Hays High School in 1951 and from the University of Kansas with a degree in interior design and fine arts in 1955. She was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. She met her husband, Clarence "Cal" Bender while attending college and they were married on Sept. 2, 1956, at the Hays Presbyterian Church. The first year of their married life they lived in Lawrence while Cal completed his education. They then moved to Hays where Cal joined Janie's father in the automobile business. They remained in Hays until 1962, during which time their three children were born.

In 1962, the family moved back to Lawrence while Cal obtained a law degree from the KU Law School in 1964. The family then lived in Goodland for two years before moving back to Hays in 1966. During her years in Hays, Jane was a member of the Presbyterian Church: the P.E.O. Sisterhood, of which she was a member for more than 50 years and until the time of her death; and the PTA at her children's schools. She and her family moved to La Mesa, CA, in 1971, where Janie and her husband lived until her death.

Janie leaves a multitude of friends in Hays and throughout Kansas and the United States. She loved her family and her friends, and was much loved by them. To know her was to love her. She enjoyed celebrating holidays and family birthdays with dinner parties and entertaining friends in their home where she and Cal have lived for 41 years. She was a very special, beautiful, caring and loving lady. She also enjoyed reading, doing oil paintings and charcoal and pencil drawings, traveling to Mexico and throughout the world, growing flowers, gardening, feeding hummingbirds and orioles, and decorating her home.

Janie was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her husband and their children, Stephen M (Carolyn), Bristow, VA; Catherine Lea Salazar (Joe), Carlsbad, CA; and William E. (Michelle), San Diego; and by three granddaughters, Allison Bender, Sarah Bender and Elizabeth Bender.

A celebration of Janie's life was held on Sept. 4, 2013.